Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger greeted the newest legislative class Monday with two immediate special sessions dealing with an $11.2 billion budget shortfall and the state's economic slowdown.
With California facing severe declines in tax revenues this year, the Republican governor declared a fiscal emergency and called a special session to deal specifically with the current budget problem. He called a separate special session in which he hopes lawmakers will address the state's mortgage and job loss woes.
Schwarzenegger's announcement came after the lame-duck Legislature failed to enact any solutions to the current budget problem. He said the state will now have to find an additional $1.5 billion to $2 billion in additional revenues or cuts beyond the package he proposed in early November that included cuts in social services and education, a temporary 1.5-cent sales tax increase and new taxes on services such as veterinary care.
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