Why would you want to lend good money to a state that shut down its education department? Or to a city that is cutting out nearly half of its street sweepers? Or to other governments under financial stress?

Connecticut, faced with a budget stalemate, last week closed not only its Department of Education but also shut the doors of dozens of other departments, commissions, and boards. New York City adopted a budget with cutbacks totaling $1.6 billion. Other states and cities from Maine to California wrestled with grave money problems as the great 1991 transformation in governing continued to lurch along without signs of arriving anywhere.

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