In Hawaii, state employees are bracing for furloughs of three days a month over the next two years, the equivalent of a 14 percent pay cut. In Idaho, lawmakers reduced aid to public schools for the first time in recent memory, forcing pay cuts for teachers.
And in California, where a $24 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year is the nationís worst, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed releasing thousands of prisoners early and closing more than 200 state parks.
Meanwhile, Maine is adding taxes on candy and ski tickets, Wisconsin on oil companies, and Kentucky on alcohol and cellphone ring tones.
With state revenues in a free fall and the economy choked by the worst recession in 60 years, governors and legislatures are approving program cuts, layoffs and, to a smaller degree, tax increases that were previously unthinkable.
All but four states must have new budgets in place less than two weeks from now ó by July 1, the start of their fiscal year. But most are already predicting shortfalls as tax collections shrink, unemployment rises and the stock market remains in turmoil.