New York (CNNMoney.com) - Think states have made deep spending cuts? You ain't seen nothing yet.
States have been struggling with huge budget gaps since 2008, but this year could be worse as federal stimulus funds wind down.
Until now, stimulus money spared governors and state lawmakers from making some of the most brutal budget cuts. But with this lifeline running out, officials are looking at making significant cutbacks to public services, particularly schools and health programs.
"The stimulus funds have staved off what could have been even deeper cuts," said Todd Haggerty, policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You're seeing states now are coming to that point where they will have to make additional cuts or find new sources of revenue for fiscal 2011 and that will continue in fiscal 2012."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Now that it's taken its first baby step towards creating jobs, Congress is looking at more measures to spur employment.
Don't expect any blockbuster bills with inventive hiring initiatives. With partisan politics dominating Capitol Hill, lawmakers are concentrating on bite-sized bills that are easier to pass. Most of the measures merely extend or expand existing laws.
Here's where things stand in both chambers:
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Congress put the final seal of approval on a $17.6 billion job creation bill on Wednesday.
The measure, which has gone through many twists and turns in the House and Senate in recent weeks, now heads to President Obama for his signature. It passed the Senate Wednesday by a 68 to 29 vote.
The legislation will:
- Exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The Senate on Wednesday approved a wide-ranging bill that would push back the deadline to file for extended unemployment insurance until year-end and extends dozens of expired tax breaks.
The bill, passed by a 62-36 vote, is the latest job creation effort to go before lawmakers, though it contains virtually no new initiatives. Its price tag has wavered between $140 billion and $150 billion, which is partially offset. Its next stop is the House.
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - States are looking to the federal government for more help balancing their budgets, but the Senate is not heeding their call.
Federal aid to the states was among the top priorities in an early Senate job creation bill, as well as in a $154 billion measure passed by the House in December. But it has fallen off the list as Senate Democrats look to craft legislation that will attract bipartisan support.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Thursday unveiled a jobs bill that does not contain state aid. A Senate Democratic aide said Reid hopes to back a state aid measure in the future. Republican support, however, remains questionable.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Boosting employment tops the to-do list in Washington right now.
President Obama plans to focus on jobs in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night. The administration's effort will reportedly center on tax credits for small businesses, traditionally the engine of job creation.
At the same time, lawmakers are looking to introduce bills that will spur hiring in the private sector.
Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are working on a proposal to be introduced tomorrow. The package will target four areas: Small businesses, infrastructure, clean energy, and assistance to states to keep teachers, firefighters and other public employees on the job, according to a Democratic party aide.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's going to be harder to get a government-backed mortgage from now on.
Looking to shore up its weakening finances, the Federal Housing Administration is set to announce stricter standards on Wednesday.
The agency, which insured nearly a third of new mortgages in 2009, will increase the premium it charges for its mortgage insurance and require those with weaker credit scores to come up with larger downpayments.
The FHA will also reduce the amount of money a seller can provide a homebuyer for closing costs, as well as tighten its enforcement of lenders.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Only about 4% of troubled borrowers have received long-term help under the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program, Treasury officials said Thursday.
A nearly equal number of trial modifications have been denied permanent assistance, the report showed. The reasons include not making monthly payments on time, not submitting all the necessary paperwork and not qualifying for reasons such as insufficient income.
The report, the first comprehensive tally of permanent modifications made, shows that loan servicers have converted 31,382 people from trial adjustments to long-term assistance as of Nov. 30.
But 30,650 people in trial modifications have been denied, according to Treasury officials.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - With rising unemployment stymying the president's economic revival plans, the Obama administration is huddling with business leaders, academics and other experts Thursday to find a way to jumpstart hiring.
Some 130 people will gather for the afternoon jobs summit at the White House on the eve of the government's November unemployment report. The nation is expected to have lost another 114,000 jobs, with unemployment remaining at 10.2%, the highest in 26 years, according to an economists' survey.
The employment picture is certainly grim. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, one-third of whom have been unemployed for more than six months. There are now six workers competing for every job vacancy.
President Obama and some lawmakers are searching for a way to stem this unrelenting loss of jobs, which is casting doubt on effectiveness of many of his economic programs, from his $787 billion stimulus plan to his $75 billion foreclosure prevention initiative.
"We are going to be bringing together people from all across the country ... to explore how we can jumpstart the hiring that typically lags behind economic growth, but we don't want to wait," Obama said last week.