LANSING, Mich. (AP) — In better days, newly elected governors were welcomed into office with star-studded galas and serenades by rock bands. But with many now facing multibillion-dollar deficits and high unemployment, they're toning it down.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton is encouraging blue jeans at his inaugural ball. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ditching his black-tie affair and holding a free barbecue.
Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder says it's a tough environment and governors want to set the right tone. He takes office Saturday, and inherits the country's second-highest unemployment rate.
Inaugural events are usually privately funded, so scaling back generally doesn't help a state's bottom line. But taxpayers and state employees keep a close watch on the festivities to get a first impression about their governor's spending habits.
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