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Number of the Day

It may not have been over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, but state governments probably understand the feeling. Unlike the federal government, most states are legally obligated to maintain a balanced budget. When their revenues melt away or their expenses rise, as has happened in this recession, it's very hard for them to meet that requirement. This week's numbers of the day will feature some of the hard choices states have made to close their budget deficits. One example: the University of California system hiked tuition for 2010:

32 percent

Moves like this are doubly pernicious. Right now, it hurts students, some of whom will no longer be able to afford to attend college even though they are capable of earning degrees. And down the road, California and other states slashing funding for higher education will suffer because their workforce will be less educated than it would have been in absence of the funding cuts. These budget holes are huge, and closing them will be painful.