Here are a few key quotes from last night's 60 Minutes piece on the fiscal troubles facing the country's cities and states.
Illinois comptroller Dan Hynes explains his state's inability to pay its debts:
It's fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state ... the state of Illinois is known as a deadbeat state. This is a reputation that has taken us years to earn and we've reached, you know, the heights of, I think, becoming the worst in the country.
Meredith Whitney, the analyst who made her name predicting troubles for Citi and other big banks, says municipal debt will likely be a big, national problem at some point in the next year:
It has tentacles as wide as anything I've seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States, and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy.
From New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
...the only choices left are choices that people previously have said were politically impossible, that you couldn't do. You couldn't cut K to 12 education funding. You couldn't do those things. They were, you couldn't talk about pension and benefit reform for the public sector unions. That were third rails of politics. We are now left with no alternatives.
(Christie Counterpoint: The head of New Jersey's teachers' union recently called Christie "irresponsible and out of control." Counter-counterpoint: Christie has been posting videos of his fights with public employees to YouTube; his exchange with a teacher 1:00 into this video went viral earlier this year.)
The National Conference of State Legislatures described the post-stimulus "cliff" facing state budgets around the nation recent report.