New money-raising tactic:
Fiscally challenged state governmentsare enjoying an upsurge in tax income,but not enough to offset 3 years of budgetpain brought on by higher spendingand lower revenues. A survey by theNational Conference of State Legislatures(www.ncsl.org) shows that only 10 statesreported budget shortfalls this year, comparedwith 31 last year. The combinedred ink adds up to $2.8 billion vs $17.5billion in the previous year. Tax increaseshave helped to hike revenues as state governmentsscramble to find new money,although raising personal income taxrates seems to be low on the priority listof most states. About a dozen states are publishing thenames of big-time deadbeat taxpayers onthe Internet to shame those on the list intopaying their back taxes.