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New govs take office amid historic budget crisis

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NEW YORK — Twenty-six new governors will take office amid the worst budget climate for states in a generation.

Many of them are promising not to raise taxes, even though states face a cumulative budget shortfall of $140 billion next year.

State lawmakers across the country have been cutting budgets for the past few years because of the poor economy. So when new governors take office in states like New York, California, South Carolina and Nevada, they will find the era of easy fixes long gone.

Polling suggests voters don't want states to cut education and health care, even though those programs eat up a majority of most states' budgets.

The situation will worsen when funds from the federal government's $800 billion stimulus plan dry up next year.