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Nine Unconventional Ways to Fill Budget Gaps


California's not the only one taking unusual steps to solve big money problems.

State and county fairs were pared back or canceled entirely this summer. Thousands of local and state workers have been furloughed or laid off. Litter is strewn beside neglected highways and rural roads. Taxes are going up.

Our cities and states are broke.

For too long, many local and state governments spent beyond their means. They weren't prepared for the worst, and the worst has arrived. Falling property values and higher unemployment have translated into lower revenues for city and state coffers across the country.

And desperate times call for creative measures.

California is often the first state to try alternative approaches to complex problems, and that's no exception during this recession. The state's economy, which would be the tenth largest in the world if it was an independent state, is in dire straits. While it attempts to close a $26 billion shortfall, it's been forced to issue IOUs to individuals instead of tax returns and to vendors instead of payments.

And now it's resorted to hawking used items on Craigslist and eBay (EBAY) in what it's calling the Great California Garage Sale. Everything must go, people!

You'd have to laugh, if it weren't so sad.

Other states will no doubt be watching The Golden State's sales closely to determine whether they, too, should consider raising a few extra dollars by selling chairs from city hall or fire department bunk beds.

But other legislatures are starting to come up with unusual solutions to their budget problems. Click through for more examples of creative cost cuts that might soon be coming to a city near you.

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