The Nevada Economic Forum released its projections today showing the state will have $5.65 billion in revenue for the next two years, which is $1.2 billion less than government spending expected in the current biennial budget. [LVRJ] The troubles in California are well publicized, but there are other states joining the ranks of “budget challenged” as well. The Michigan Legislature opens its session with a shortfall estimated between $400 million to $900 million. [DFP] South Carolina is facing a $90 million shortage that will force the state to make cuts. [SCG] All told, some 41 states have projected shortfalls in fiscal 2009/2010. [CPBB]
Why is it that some of the first services cut fall into the mental health category? The Kansas state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services announced today that it was immediately freezing access to a program that serves the disabled, and mental health advocates were told to expect a 7.3% cut in grants to assist patients. [LJW] Oregon’s Governor has submitted a budget that would cut substance abuse, and mental health services. [RG] Georgia is looking at total privatization of state psychiatric hospitals. [AJC] Massachusetts has cut approximately $33.5 million from its Department of Mental Health programs. [AttleboroSC] Mental health services have been slashed by $25 million in Hawaii. [HonoAdv] In Nevada, the Silver Springs Mental Health Clinic may be scheduled for closure if funds aren’t found by July 2009. [NA]
More of that Stupid economy: “JPMorgan to cut 9,200 Washington Mutual jobs” [Reuters] “Government expands tax probe to HSBC, Credit Suisse: report” [Reuters] “Layoffs coming to Insite Vision: Alameda based company to cut 15 jobs (35% of its workforce)” [SFBT] “Layoffs at Cemex come in time for holidays” [TampaTrib] “Ash Grove Cement Co. (ID) will lay off 45 of their 68 full time employees” [LN8 Pocatello] “Ford resists pressure to cut CEO compensation” [WSJ] “UAW wants limits on carmakers’ executive pay” [Reuters] “10 CEOs to go for 2009: Rick Wagoner of GM” [24/7]
Rumors of the impending fall of the Conservative Party government in Canada appear to be well founded. The Conservatives face a coalition of Liberals, New Democrats, and others prepared to assume power if the economic proposals (declared to be a confidence vote) are defeated in their Parliament. [NYT] The “Tories to consider all options to stop opposition” [Edmonton Sun] “Crisis on Parliament Hill: What happens next?” [NatPost]
We may know the five members of Congress mentioned by Mitchell Wade, who has been providing information to federal investigators. The nominees are: Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), and Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) [Sunlight Fnd] Harris and Goode lost their seats in recent elections. Goode’s first recount hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. [NBC29] Mitchell Wade who founded MZM will be sentenced before December 25th, and could receive a four year sentence for pressuring his employees to make campaign contributions to Goode. [MDN] With Inouye’s name made public in connection with Wade’s MZM scandal, questions could be raised in the Democratic Caucus about his assumption of the Appropriations Committee chair?
The Southern Poverty Law Center won a jury verdict against the Imperial Klans of America; the $2.5 million award will likely cripple the hate group that has 16 chapters in eight states. The award comes on behalf of Jordan Gruver who was brutally beaten at a county fair in rural Kentucky in July 2006. [SPLC] Anti-Latino hate crimes are increasing for the fourth year, up 40% since 2003. [IR] The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights issued a statement condemning the escalation of attacks on communities of color, exemplified by the murder of Marcelo Lucero. [LCCR] The HRC has commended the selection of Eric Holder as Attorney General for being an “unswerving proponent of fully inclusive federal hate crimes legislation.” [Edge] “Attorney General inherits a damaged department” [McClatchy]
International headlines: “Israel blocks aid ship bound for Gaza” [GuardianUK] “Unpaid Zimbabwe soldiers fight police” [IndependentUK] “Northern Cyprus Prime Minister: Cyprus wounds must finally be healed” [Der Spiegel] “Congo rebel leader threatens war” [AJE] “US warned India twice about sea attack on Mumbai” [Times of India] “Venice sees worst flooding in 20 years: Reports say 40% of the city’s historic buildings have been affected as city mayor tells residents to stay home” [Guardian UK]
Want to take a quick test of your Current Events Knowledge? Try the “Take the Quiz” page at the Pew Research website. (Warning: the question about the Dow Jones Industrial Average is dated.)