Supercommittee collapse problem for states

Nov. 25, 2011 at 1:24 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. governors and lawmakers beginning the budget process must factor in potential cuts due to the failure of the congressional supercommittee, experts say.

Congress may decide to withdraw the automatic federal budget cuts that were to be triggered in 2013, but states must assume they will be made, The Washington Post reported Friday. The problem is especially acute in states like Virginia where military spending is a big contributor to the local economy, the newspaper said.

"We're an unusual state in that we certainly, no matter how you look at the numbers, we're first, second or third as far as military funding," Kirk Cox, the Republican majority leader of the state House of Delegates. "If the automatic cuts go into place, they're 50 percent defense. That certainly affects Virginia dramatically."

By law, states must typically have balanced budgets in place when their new fiscal year begins July 1.

In Maryland, almost one-third of the state budget, 31 percent, comes from federal aid. The cuts, for example, could cost the state $62 million in aid to education for programs ranging from school lunches to special education.

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