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New govs take office amid historic budget crisis

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NEW YORK (AP) — New York's incoming governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, says he won't raise taxes even though he will inherit a budget deficit of at least $9 billion when he takes office in January. Ohio Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich is promising to cut taxes, despite a shortfall of about $8 billion.

And in California, incoming Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown — who ardently pursued innovative clean energy and environmental protection programs during his first stint in office, in the revenue-rich 1970s and '80s — will have to figure out this time how to close a budget gap projected at more than $25 billion.

Twenty-six states elected new governors last month — 17 Republicans, eight Democrats and one independent — and now they are going to have to reconcile their principles and campaign promises with some harsh fiscal realities: This is the worst budget climate for the states in at least a generation.

Cumulatively, the states face budget shortfalls of nearly $140 billion next year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank. To make matters worse, billions in aid to states from the federal government's $800 billion stimulus plan is set to dry up early next year.


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