File - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley speaks during the annual State of the State address at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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Six years after the recession ended, many U.S. states are hard pressed to balance budgets because of a sluggish recovery and their own policy decisions.A majority of states are making cuts, tapping reserves or facing shortfalls despite an improving national economy and stock markets at record levels, according to Standard & Poor's and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.Even some Republican governors have championed tax increases to avoid further diminishing services curtailed during the 18-month recession, the deepest downturn since the Great Depression.Thirty-two states faced budget gaps in fiscal 2015 or 2016 or both, according to an April 27 report by Standard & Poor's.Some Kansas schools are closing early, while Alaska Governor Bill Walker Monday threatened furloughing as many as 15,000 workers if lawmakers don't act on a $3 billion gap. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has warned of impending cuts, including the closing of 15 of 22 state parks.The situation has become so bleak in some states that even Republican governors who loath to raise taxes have proposed higher levies.
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