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Feds vs. State: Which Budget Crisis is Worse?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's a close call, says UC Berkeley Political Science Professor Bruce Cain.  He's based in Washington but studies the federal and state governments.

Cain: "I think, still, California noses out the Washington scene, but that gap gets narrower and narrower with every passing hour."

Cain says an all-cuts budget in California would have a far greater impact than the proposed federal cuts, which make up only a fraction of the overall budget.  And while the feds can keep borrowing money, the state must approve a balanced budget.  But Cain says the politics of the two debates are nearly identical.

Cain: "Sometimes I feel like you get the whole crisis in stereo.  If you listen, you hear the same sounds coming from Washington that you have in California."

And from a political perspective, he says, the question of which is worse ends in a tie.

Meantime, California's Department of Finance says the state probably wouldn't feel much impact from a federal government shutdown, as long as it stays relatively brief.

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