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Collateral Damage

As U.S. states grapple to close budget deficits that total $103 billion, lawmakers are looking for savings to avoid painful layoffs. In California, budget cuts have halted space alien research, shuttered state parks, and caused a 1,500-bed county jail to reduce its population to just a couple of dozen inmates. Situations are often just as dire at the local level. In Tampa, feral cats are on the loose because of cuts to animal services staff, while in Brooklyn, small claims court is working on a restricted schedule. Proving that nothing is sacred, Newark Mayor Cory Booker proposed canceling the city's toilet paper contract last summer as part of an effort to safeguard city spending on security and education. Toilet tissue was ultimately spared in New Jersey, but at least 14 other states have targeted public restrooms at roadside stops for closures. Click ahead to read about some of the more unusual budget casualties of recent years.

Above, carp jump out of the river while motorboats pass through in Bath, Illinois. Photographer: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images
 
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