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Due to the 2009–2010 recession, state and local governments are experiencing the greatest budget shortfalls and making some of the most drastic cuts to services since the Great Depression in the 1930s and early 1940s. As we discuss in this chapter, budgeting in good times can be a complicated process, let alone in times of severe fiscal stress. The Senate Ways and Means Committee for the State of Washington has put together a budget-balancing exercise for citizens and students called "Ax and Tax." Download the exercise, make the budget, and see how they match up with what the legislature and governor actually did:

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