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We estimate that unless Congress gives states some additional fiscal relief, state budget cuts and tax increases could cost the economy 900,000 jobs next year, raising chances that the economy will slip back into recession.

Congress must act soon. Although states’ next budgets won’t take effect until July 1, policymakers are beginning to make decisions about those budgets. Governors are preparing their budget proposals now, and legislatures will act on them this winter and spring.

Congress is right to further extend unemployment benefits and added health insurance for jobless workers. The president is right to suggest further job-creating measures. Now, policymakers should take what could be one of the most effective steps to preserve or create jobs — providing further fiscal relief to avert massive state fiscal retrenchment that would materially weaken the economy.

Robert Greenstein is executive director of the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.