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Things are tough all over.

   Breaking on The Buffalo News Web site today:
- Deficit grows to $3 billion as Paterson asks for ideas - Tom Precious/The Buffalo News
   ALBANY -- Fiscal officials in the Paterson administration and Legislature believe the state's deficit is at least $3 billion -- $900 million more than estimated in July.Paterson108
   In a letter today to his negotiation counterparts in the Legislature, Robert Megna, the governor's budget director, said the Paterson administration needs the help of lawmakers to close the red ink.
   The request came a couple days after Paterson ordered $500 million worth of savings in state agencies -- which is about as much as he can do on his own, officials say, without approval from the Legislature.
   Hours later, Paterson rejected -- before it was even made public -- a five-year capital program for roads and bridges work around the state, saying the state's precarious fiscal condition will imperil the projects

- State's budget faces $415 million shortfall - The Des Moines (Iowa) Register
   State officials must ax $415 million in state spending over the next nine months, the most severe midyear cut in more than 40 years.
   It will mean trims and elimination of some government services, and some state employees will face layoffs.
   A projected nose dive in tax collections prompted Iowa Gov. Chet Culver on Wednesday to vow to cut at least 8.4 percent from the current budget, if not more.

- Heineman calls special session of Legislature to cut budget - The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star
   The Legislature will meet in special session, possibly beginning Nov. 4, to deal with declining state tax receipts and revise the state budget, Gov. Dave Heineman announced Wednesday....
   General fund tax receipts through Sept. 30, the end of the first quarter of the two-year budget, are below projections for the quarter by $56.8 million, Heineman said. Gross general fund receipts for the month were $358 million, 9 percent below the forecast of $393 million.

- House approves state budget, accompanying tax bill - Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette
   HARRISBURG -- It looks like 100 may be the General Assembly's lucky number, as legislators near the end of arduous work on a long-overdue state budget.
   In a 107-93 vote tonight, the state House approved a state spending plan along with a tax code bill, which includes $1.7 billion in new revenue to fund it...
   The revenue bill raises the cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack, delays the phaseout of a tax on business assets, authorizes leasing of more state forest land for natural gas drilling, depletes the state's "rainy day" emergency fund and starts a tax amnesty program aimed at getting scofflaws to pay up.
   The new taxes, which accompany $2 billion in federal stimulus aid and $25 billion from the sales tax, income tax, corporate taxes and other state revenues, will pay for a fiscal year 2009-10 budget of nearly $27.8 billion. The fiscal year started July 1 -- 99 days ago.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Time 2 - Lucy 0

   I read The News today, oh boy.

   A 4.4 million-year-old fossil nicknamed Ardi has been proclaimed the earliest known ancestor of the human species. She displaces Lucy, a mere 3 million years old, as the furthest back we can get with remains that are recognizable as hominids in our line of evolution.
   Lucy, you may recall, was so named by her discoverers because of the song that had been blaring from their camp tape player, the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

   This about a week after we read that Lucy Vodden, childhood friend of Julian Lennon and inspiration for John Lennon's lyrics to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," had died at age 46 after a long battle with lupus. The story that the song was really an anthem in praise of LSD won't die, supported partly by some things that fellow Beatle Paul McCartney has said. But John and Julian always stuck to their story.

   Of course, both versions could be true. Coincidences, after all, abound.

   If your name is Lucy, I'd be careful. These things tend to happen in threes.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

All news is local

  Some more stories from other newspapers that might sound a little familiar to you, the loyal readers of The Buffalo News:

Here: U.S. sues county over alleged jail abuses - Matthew Spina/The Buffalo News
There: Inmate's death caused by denial of needed medication - The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press


Here: NYSEG asks more to deliver power, gas - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
There: Black Hills Power looks to increase rates by more than 25 percent - The Rapid City (S.D.) Journal

Here: State pension fund’s value drops $44 billion - Tom Precious/The Buffalo News
There: Oregon governments, schools face big increase in pension costs - The Oregonian

Here: FAA chief cites Flight 3407 crew's cockpit demeanor - Jerry Zremski/The Buffalo News
There: Cockpit chatter cited in six crashes - USA Today   

Here: Going green to pull in conventions - George Pyle/The Buffalo News
There: With Sam's Club departure, KC has now lost its top 3 conventions - The Kansas City Star

Here: Conservancy defends work in Buffalo - Tom Buckham/The Buffalo News
There: Is Great Park a soaring vision or just hot air? - The Los Angeles Times

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News