Meanwhile, across the river...

Comparing state budgets isn't always apples to apples, and it could induce a coma from boredom, too. But there might be a lesson for Harrisburg in how Trenton solved its budget crisis.

New Jersey covered its budget shortfall by cutting spending and raising taxes, with a heavy emphasis on cuts: $4 billion, versus $1 billion in new taxes. The state's $29 billion budget approved Thursday night is about $4 billion less than the current budget.

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Gov. Corzine had an easier political task than Gov. Rendell because Democrats control the New Jersey's Senate and Assembly. Republicans are firmly in control of Pennsylvania's Senate.

Still, as Harrisburg tries to close its own multi-billion shortfall by July 1,  a solution weighted more toward spending cuts than tax increases might be the way out of partisan gridlock.

Or we could be having this conversation again in August.

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