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Cut Taxes or Restore Services? Maryland and Kansas Differ on Path

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As state governments begin to emerge from the long downturn, many are grappling with a difficult choice: should they restore some of the services and jobs they were forced to eliminate in the recession or cut taxes in the hopes of bolstering their local economies? The debate over the proper balance between taxing and spending has been raging in Congress, on the presidential campaign trail and in statehouses around the country, and no two states have settled it more differently this year than Maryland and Kansas, whose fiscal years began July 1.

Maryland, a state controlled by Democrats that has a pristine credit rating, raised income taxes on its top earners this year to preserve services and spending on its well-regarded schools -- leading some business groups to warn that the state might become less competitive. Kansas, controlled by Republicans, decided to try to...

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