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States Across the Country Cut Programs to Balance Budgets

Photo Courtesy - Getty ImagesNEW YORK) -- A laundry list of government programs could be on the chopping block as states and municipalities across the country confront the hard realities of budget shortfalls. From hospice care to hearing aids, wildfire funding to the police force, state legislators and city leaders are considering all options in their efforts to stay in the black.

Most states are bound by their own laws to maintain balanced budgets, meaning many state governments are facing the tough choice: either cut spending or raise taxes.

In California, where Gov. Jerry Brown is confronting a $25 billion shortfall, that means canceling cell phone service for nearly 50,000 state workers. Brown himself is turning in his phone.

"It's not just cutting out programs. It's making government leaner and more effective," said Brown, a Democrat.

Cell phone service is just one area that may see cuts in California. Others include education spending and wildfire fighting.

Other states are taking unusual and drastic measures to dig their way out of debt. Forty-eight of them have slashed programs, including Medicaid.

In Arizona, that means nearly 100 people will be ineligible for state-funded, life-saving transplants.

South Carolina will stop payments to hospice, and Indiana could eliminate funding for hearing aids and dentures.

Municipalities also are faced with serious financial problems.

Detroit may have to close down half its public schools by 2013, the Detroit News reported this week. The move would increase typical class sizes from 35 to 62 people in public high schools.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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