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Forty-three states already face shortfalls for their budgets this year and/or next year. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities projected that nearly all states will face shortfalls by 2010. It expects the deficit shortfall to total over $100 billion by 2010.

So what does all this mean for you? Certainly not lower taxes, but you could end up losing services. Here's some of the cuts predicted (or already happening):

* Health care: 17 states have already made cuts or are considering cuts to programs for low-income children and family health programs.

* Education: 16 states are thinking about cutting K-12 and early education spending. 21 states have implemented or proposed cuts to public colleges and universities.

* 20 states have implemented or proposed cuts to the state workforce -- in other words more layoffs



In many states, it's not only the state governments in trouble. County governments also are struggling to find funding for education, as well as police and fire departments as property tax revenues drop. Many are struggling with keeping up foreclosure homes because the banks that own them are not taking care of the property, which can increase the rodent population and other health problems.

Barack Obama has promised to work with the states on an economic recovery package -- bailout in most people's minds. He met with the National Governor's Association in Philadelphia and promised help. Expect to see the states added to the massive bailout passed by the new Congress in January. Democrats plan to have the bailout ready for Obama's signature on inauguration day. Given the rapid financial decline and job loses, that may even be too long to save jobs and needed state services.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books including "Working After Retirement for Dummies" and "Surviving a Layoff."

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