WASHINGTON — With a new Congress, states are also preparing for a new reality that includes less help from the federal government when it comes to dealing with their budget woes.
The stimulus money passed by a Democratic Congress and championed by President Barack Obama helped states provide essential services at a time when state revenues were plummeting. Most of the money will run out this year.
That means the cuts that states have instituted over the past two years could be even greater as legislatures around the country prepare over the coming months for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 31 states and Puerto Rice face budget shortfalls totaling $82.1 billion during the fiscal year.
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