02/07/2011 - Faced with the most severe budget crisis since the Great Depression, governors across the ideological spectrum are embracing the politics of austerity in a desperate effort to balance the books.
Democratic and Republican governors alike are sounding similar themes, as they slash once sacrosanct programs such as those covering education, health care for the poor and aid to hard-pressed local governments. Cutbacks on the state and local levels are expected to be a major drag on the economic recovery.
Some of the deepest and most politically painful reductions have been proposed by Democratic governors in traditionally liberal states that offer a wide range of programs for the poor and generous benefits for public employees. With federal stimulus money being phased out and state tax receipts only beginning to recover from the steep economic downturn, these governors say they have been left with little choice.
"You are seeing some interesting scrambling of partisan politics," said Susan K. Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States. "Governors do not have the luxury of being ideological, particularly when they have huge budget gaps to close."
Read Governors from Both Parties Plan Painful Cuts Amid Budget Crises Across the U.S. in its entirety on Washington Post's Web site.