Arizona, 9 other states barreling toward budget disaster

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PHOENIX -- A study warns that Arizona is among nine states barreling toward an economic disaster similar to California's ongoing fiscal crisis that has been marked by IOUs and budget-busting deficits.

The budget woes could mean higher taxes, accelerated layoffs of government employees, more crowded classrooms and fewer services in the coming year for some of the nation's most populous states.

A report by the Pew Center on the States says Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin join California as those most at risk of fiscal calamity.

Double-digit budget gaps, rising unemployment, high home foreclosure rates and built-in budget constraints are the key reasons.

The analysis urged lawmakers and governors in those states to take quick action to head off a wider economic catastrophe. The 10 states account for more than one-third of America's population and economic output.

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