Like a college student fishing for stray quarters in the sofa cushions, states are tightening their belts, dipping into their rainy day funds and hoping revenues will pick up, Stateline.org reports. But many states are bracing against a faltering economy they expect to get worse–a problem that is sure to affect education budgets in states from coast to coast. Anemic revenue returns have forced 16 states to patch nearly $12 billion holes in their current budgets, up from the seven that faced shortfalls last November, while in 23 states, budget gaps totaling at least $26 billion have emerged for their 2009 budgets, according to a new 50-state fiscal survey from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of these 23 states, four states reported budget gaps as well, but did not provide amounts to NCSL…

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