WASH POST In Illinois' Cook County, women in poor neighborhoods no longer have access to free mammograms from two mobile vans testing for breast cancer. In Michigan, hikers will find about 20 campgrounds closed, and scientists are ending their studies of fish populations in the Great Lakes. In New Jersey, state workers are being laid off, and at least one town is canceling its traditional Fourth of July fireworks. And in California's San Fernando Valley, Everardo Orozco, 53, who has AIDS, exhausted his medical benefits and can no longer afford the drugs that are keeping him alive. . .
State budgets have been hit hard by a worsening national economy, including rising costs for energy and health care. In addition, fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis -- declining home sales, deflated property values and mounting foreclosures -- has caused a slide in states' anticipated tax receipts. Revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and real estate transfer taxes is affected.
At least half of the nation's states are facing budget shortfalls, some of them severe, and policymakers in most of the states affected are proposing and passing often-painful measures to trim costs and close the gaps. Spending on schools is being slashed, after- school programs are being curtailed and teachers are being notified of potential layoffs. Health-care assistance is being cut for the elderly, the disabled and the poor. Some government offices, such as motor vehicle department locations, will start closing on weekends, and some state workers are receiving pink slips.