FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
While there are signs that the national economy is slowly starting to recover - it's still a bleak situation in many of the 50 states.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/10/art.sale.jpg caption=""]
A new report says because of declining revenues, state economies still have not seen the worst of the recession. The National Governors Association says the fiscal year 2011 - which starts this summer - will be "the most difficult to date"... and 2012 won't be much better.
Revenues have been down for five consecutive quarters due to shrinking tax collections - the longest period that states have taken in less money since at least the Great Depression.
The situation is most difficult in places like Oklahoma - where revenue dropped nearly 27 percent last quarter compared to the previous year... or Arizona, which saw a 17 percent drop. Seven states did report an increase in revenue, but it's believed that's more because of tax increases rather than a growing economy.
Meanwhile the drop in revenue comes despite hefty tax increases in many states. At the same time, costs are going up for programs like Medicaid. This means a lot of states will have to either raise taxes some more - or cut spending and jobs.
States face a combined budget gap of $134 billion over the next three years, and because states actually have to balance their budgets it's not going to be pretty. Plus the states are facing a combined $1 trillion shortfall for employees pensions and retirement benefits.
Some governors are banking on getting more money from the federal government - but that's money that hasn't even been approved yet.
Here’s my question to you: Is the recession over in your state?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Dave from Peterborough, New Hampshire writes:
Jack, What's that old saying: If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything. This guy doesn't have much under his belt to brag about! He was all full of hope and change at the beginning, then he met the wall, you know Congress.
Simon in Florida writes:
It's all about the teleprompter. He's a great speaker. He's just not a very quick thinker when it comes to some of the tough questions reporters might ask. And defending some of the idiotic things he's done has got to be almost impossible.
Ducking the press? Give me a break. Six months ago CNN was having panel discussions about how overexposed Obama was, how could he handle his work load, etc. Which way do you in the press want it?
Vic in West Windsor, New Jersey writes:
The press is not interested in asking substantive questions. They are only trying to score some kind of "gotcha" moment. These just spin out-of-control in the media and it's difficult to maintain focus on important policy issues. Obama realized this after the Gates fiasco and has been wise to avoid the press ever since.
Maybe I'm wrong, but can anyone tell me the last American president who has been this forthcoming with the American people and media?
Brad in Houston, Texas writes:
Obama is ducking the Washington press because, while adept at public speaking from prepared comments, he is weak at answering spontaneous questions in front of a live audience. He governs by committee and flounders when he is on his own attempting to address the press.
Because the Washington press corps for the most part is composed of rude, egotistical jackals.