The State of the States: 46 US States Could File Bankruptcy in 2009 – 2010

States are facing a great fiscal crisis. At least 46 states faced or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or next year, and severe fiscal problems are highly likely to continue into the following year as well. Combined budget gaps for the remainder of this fiscal year and state fiscal years 2010 and 2011 are estimated to total more than $350 billion.

States are currently at the mid-point of fiscal year 2009 — which started July 1 in most states — and are in the process of preparing their budgets for the next year. Over half the states had already cut spending, used reserves, or raised revenues in order to adopt a balanced budget for the current fiscal year — which started July 1 in most states. Now, their budgets have fallen out of balance again. New gaps of $46 billion (over 9% of state budgets) have opened up in the budgets of at least 42 states plus the District of Columbia. These budget gaps are in addition to the $48 billion shortfalls that these and other states faced as they adopted their budgets for the current fiscal year, bringing total gaps for the year to over 14 percent of budgets.

The states’ fiscal problems are continuing into the next two years. At least 41 states have looked ahead and anticipate deficits for fiscal year 2010 and beyond. These gaps total almost $88 billion — 16 percent of budgets — for the 34 states that have estimated the size of these gaps and are likely to grow as gaps are re-estimated in the next few months.

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Regions back Medvedev over Caucasus

President Medvedev says the country had no option but to intervene militarily after Georgian forces killed hundreds of civilians and some Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. He made the statement at a meeting of the heads of Russia’s regions in the Kremlin.

Medvedev told the State Council meeting that his government had acted responsibly.

“There isn’t a single country in the world that would tolerate its citizens and peacekeepers being killed. Russia was obliged to save these people”.

At the Moscow meeting, the government’s position was backed by regional leaders.

The Republic of Tatarstan’s President, Mentimir Shaimiyev, said recent events showed that ethnic conflicts cannot be solved by force.

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Georgia started the war – Pat Buchanan

U.S. using NATO to pressurise Europe

Russia has suspended military co-operation with NATO and recalled its ambassador to the organisation to discuss what Moscow sees as a biased response to the South Ossetian conflict. A Russian draft resolution aimed at settling the conflict has been submitted to the UN Security Council after France’s proposal met with a deadlock.

Russia’s UN representative Vitaly Churkin says the French plan did not entirely reflect the six principles agreed by Moscow, Tbilisi and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. In fact he said “only one and a half principles were left out of the initial six principles agreed upon between Medvedev and Sarkozy”.

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Mixed Truth of the Russia-Georgia War

Despite significant US and Georgian culpability in the crisis in Georgia, most US politicians and media painted Russia as the diabolical “evildoer.”

As if the Russian military incursions into Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia — the latter two are autonomous regions of the former that do not want to be part of that country — happened out of the blue, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice implied that Russia was attempting to bring back the Cold War.

Because Georgia is a US friend, however, US politicians, in a huff, heaped blame on the resurgent Russian bear, forgot to mention that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili recklessly first invaded South Ossetia to try to reclaim one of the two regions, which both have had long-standing autonomy and populations who want it to stay that way.

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Georgian minister: Israel has sold us out

Israel has joined in the West’s betrayal of Georgia, the Georgian reintegration minister, Temur Yakobashvili, told Haaretz yesterday. As the official in charge of bringing Abkhazia and South Ossetia back into the fold, Yakobashvili oversaw negotiations with the Russians to end the fighting there. He warned the world that the situation would escalate into war, but the West ignored him. “They said the Georgians are exaggerating again,” he charged.

A former Zionist leader who speaks fluent Hebrew, Yakobashvili credited Israeli defense companies with “enabling us to train our army and giving us the possibility to withstand the Russians,” but termed the Israeli government’s decision to stop arms exports to his country “a disgrace.”

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Russia to U.S.: Choose us or Georgia

Russia pressed the United States on Wednesday to choose between “a real partnership” with Moscow or an “illusory” relationship with U.S. ally Georgia.

Washington said it’s sticking with Georgia.

“As to choosing, the United States has made very clear that it is standing by the democratically elected government of Georgia,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.

She spelled out the Bush administration’s stance after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Georgia’s government “a special project for the United States.”

“And we are aware that the U.S. is uptight about this project,” Lavrov said in remarks broadcast on Russian television. “But a choice will have to be made someday between considerations of prestige related to an illusory project and a real partnership in matters which indeed require collective efforts.”

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