February 21st, 2010
11:07 AM ET
11 years ago

States at risk from Washington gridlock, governors say

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/21/art.3shotgovs0221.cnn.jpg caption="Gov. Patrick, left, and Gov. Douglas, right, appeared on State of the Union Sunday and discussed the lack of bipartisanship in Washington."]
Washington (CNN) – The partisan gridlock gripping Washington endangers already fragile state budgets nationwide, two governors said Sunday.

"We really need Washington to come together, to work on a bipartisan basis and get us out of this," Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

The states are scrambling to fill big fiscal holes for fiscal year 2011, which for most starts on July 1, and face combined budget gaps of $134 billion over the next three years, according to a report released Saturday by the National Governors Association.

"States foresee fiscal year 2011 … to be the most difficult to date, and few see fiscal year 2012 much better," the report stated.

The outlook is made worse by a lack of certainty coming from Washington about how much financial support states can expect from the federal government.

"We get a significant amount of money for Medicaid and other federal programs from Washington and we need to have some … expectation of what those resources are so we can budget in our own states," said Douglas, chairman of the governors association.

Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts, who joined Douglas on State of the Union, highlighted the need for Congress to enact legislation to spur job creation and help the unemployed. The House passed a big jobs bill in December but the fate of any similar action in the Senate is unclear.

"We need that kind of action and we need it now," Patrick told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

Filed under: Deval Patrick • Economy • Jim Douglas • State of the Union
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    The root cause of all government failure is Progressives in both of the major parties.
    What are progressives, who are they?
    They are those who DO NOT believe the US Constitution applies to issues of today! They believe that modern times have changed what Freedom and Liberty mean.
    They are wrong in this thing, Freedom and Liberty has never been defined in a better fashion of government in the history of Human society. What we truly need is a return to the principles that this country was founded on!

    February 21, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Beef King

    Lack of certainty is the cause of gridlock? You bet it is. When you are the decision maker for your business or your family and all you've been told is that you will pay more, but no one explains how, why or when, all you can do is try to protect what you have and not focus on what's next, because no one knows what's next.

    February 21, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "We really need Washington to come together, to work on a bipartisan basis and get us out of this."

    No, what we really need is for the states to come together and contain the growing monster that is Washington.

    We need the states to make Washington honour the intent of the Tenth Amendment, we need the states to protect their residents from Washington's rapaciousness. We need a return to true Federalism of the kind the authors of the Constitution intended.

    February 21, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Independent_me

    Blame the Republicans –

    They hate Obama more than they love this country. They are rejoicing and gloating over the fact that they have said "NO!" to everything that Obama is trying to do to benefit the nation. They spew violence and hate and cause division... but the God that they say they serve will show them that they are on the wrong side of His Will. They will not control the government with their fascism as they did under Bush.

    February 21, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Kirsten

    Our biggest problem right now is that we put to much faith in the federal government. We shouldn't be getting bailouts from the federal government, we should be spending within our own means as states. The federal government was not meant to bailout the states, thats the states responsibilities. By allowing the feds to give money to the states, we are increasing the feds' power and debt at the same time.

    February 21, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Former Republican, now an Independent

    America better wake up! These republicans that are blocking all progress by the current administration, hopes to convince voters it is the President's fault. Past history shows that most Americans don't pay enough attention to recognize the root cause of failure. A prime example is the Wall Street debacle. The root cause was de-regulation of these banks, started by the Reagan administration.

    February 21, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. stormerF

    States put them selves at risk by over budgeting,for money they did not collect,buy by what they precieved to collect. Now is that away to run a state? NO! vote the butts out now and take back your state.

    February 21, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Stop the Nonsense

    Are you listening Congressional Republicans? Even one of your own wants this gridlock to stop!
    At what point do you think Americans will say enough and vote ALL of congress out? At what point will we say work together or you wont work at all?
    It better be sooon.

    February 21, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. psgmichigan

    The Republican solution is to let the states fail and let the free market take care of everything. They are against helping the states in any way because Obama wants to help the states. Obama-yes; all Republicans-"NO". Their message is clear.

    February 21, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Aunt Bea and Opie

    We feel sorry for the real tea baggers that have been highjacked by the neo-con-artists.Its always good to have opposing voices,but neo cons are dangerous and dont care a hoot about the people.

    February 21, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. LG

    Most states and local govts can not legally run a deficit. They are also forbidden to create reserves greater than a very small fraction of the total budget (e.g around 5% in many states).

    So in times of prosperity, there's no way to create reserves for the next recession. Now that we are in a recession, local govts must either cut spending (fire teachers, ...) or raise taxes. Both options are political suicide.

    To those who rant about mismanagement... You need to realize that the current rules cause the present funding mess - no matter how competent the local leaders may be.

    February 21, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. katiec

    The republicans will continue on with their destructive path of destroying our country, obstructing anything and everything regardless of needs, merits and benefits to our country, all for their priorities of personal gains, goals, win at any cost and party first. They have thrown away all responsibility, integrity and honor and are well on their way to becoming our country's most evil, dangerous domestic terrorists.

    February 21, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Michael from Ventura

    A republican saying we must really come together for the benefit of the people is the most hypocritical thing I've heard in awhile. The gridlock is because the white conservatives can't stand the fact that a black man resides in "their" White House. If you doubt that- listen to the speeches from CPAC. They only lacked the white hoods and burning crosses.

    February 21, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. John

    Repuplican hated the Democrats because of of blowout in 2008 election is a result an act of revenge by GOP to derailed them in the midterm election.Democrat want healthcare for low and middle income to survive by using Government run option,Republican said NO in a very Selfish manner to prevent the Democrat to Succeed.

    February 21, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Actually, the republican solution is to let everything but big banks and wall street fail. As long as there are lobbyists to pay them off, republicans will not work for solutions. They could have addressed health care when they controlled both houses and the presidency from 2000-2006, but, instead, they did the republican thing and passed 3 tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. They just start wars, they don't pay for them.

    February 21, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Tom from Canonsburg

    To blame any one faction of American politics is entirely wrong. Every one of these groups have good ideas, but are unable to get their point across. This is due to all these groups failure to compromise for the benefit of the people. I am a moderate democrat and as I read the above comments, I can see that everyone has someone to blame. The Conservatives blames the Liberals, the Liberals blames the Conservatives. The Framers did the right thing by making the Constitution so difficult to change, otherwise we would be in utter chaos. The answers are in the middle and most intelligent people reading this will agree.

    Look we all realize that some taxes must be paid. There is a need for a governing group to look at most everything. We must have a military that is strong enough to protect our interests, not the interests of a faction, an individual or a corporation. We must have oversight of what the greedy groups & individuals are doing. I could continue for a long time, but I’m sure you get my point. There must be a balance of tax & spend just like in your home. The example we as the public are shown is that being in over your head is the method to succeed.

    Today what we see is the pundits, politicians and the media behaving badly. Bad behavior & greed are applauded nowadays. That is the root of the problem. The real people we need in office are the few that have the best interest of the American people in their heart. Those people my friends are few and far between. The best interest of our nation is in the middle. People should be held accountable for what they say as an opinion and what they state as being fact. There is a difference.

    February 21, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Conservatism equals illiterate ignorance

    Too bad someone isn't able to show the Repugnants that the only people they are hurting by thier just say no to everything attitude is the American people themselves, but then illiterate uneducated masses usually are unable of comprehending the obvious.

    February 21, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. mw

    Repugs worship their lobbyists who keep them all in a position to wear $500 suits, $100 ties, $300 shoes. They do not care about the Americans who put them in office. Vote them all out next election.

    February 21, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I think the infantile ranting at the recent CPAC Convention was indicative of a far bigger problem facing our country. Sarcasm and just plain nastiness has become a substitute for thought – all under the guise of humor.

    February 21, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. badgerman

    I've never been a fan of term limits but I'm starting to change my mind and am thinking this would be one way of stopping the gridlock!

    February 21, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. Mike in MN

    If states do not have enough money for their budgets they need to cut spending. NO more federal bailouts. The federal government needs to cut spending it's self, not increase spending to bailout states. We can't afford this level of govenment spending on borrowed money. It has to stop now not later.

    February 21, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    A healthy dose of widespread economic failure is the only thing which will correct these political megatrends, but these effects will play out in slo-mo over years so it will be too late to correct anything, and we will be collectively too dumb to have learned anything from it. I much prefer wasting my time on drugs, alcohol, sports, stryle and religion to doing or saying much of anything about it.

    February 21, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. JP

    One sinking ship can't save another. Why is it that States with the higher rates of unionization seem to have the worst budget problems.

    February 21, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Ancient Texan

    Kirsten- True, but the problem is, that everything that the federal government has proposed is loaded with mandated, but unfunded,increases in States budgets. Take the proposed expansion of Medicaid included in the Healthcare Bill for instance, huge increase to the states,

    February 21, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Liberal wing nut

    I love this liberal media garbage. Bipartisan who? moderate democrats and the liberal left wing? The gop had no say.

    February 21, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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