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Special session kicks off, but most work slated for Thursday (access required)

Lawmakers officially kicked off the fourth special session of the year - the second devoted to the fiscal 2010 budget - with an uneventful gathering at the state Capitol on Nov. 17. The work on taking a small bite out of the state's $2 billion budget deficit will take place on Nov. 19, when House and Senate budget committees are expected to meet.

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Budget insiders see worse ahead in Calif., Mich.

Two of the states hit hardest by the Great Recession-California and Michigan-are bracing for an even tougher time making ends meet next year, putting big spending cuts or outright elimination of some services on the table, top budget officials from both states said Nov. 13.

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Draft bills show special session cuts of $300M (access required)

Draft versions of the bills lawmakers are expected to consider this week in a special legislative session show about $300 million in spending cuts to education and social services, as well as the restoration of funding for high-tech economic development.

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Lawmakers getting hammered in court; resources strained (access required)

Arizona's 49th Legislature has been tasked with keeping the state financially afloat during the most troubling economic times in state history. But the choices lawmakers made this year in an effort to balance the budget have led to six lawsuits challenging the state's use of fund sweeps to fill in deficits.

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Mixed messages emerge from school override, bond votes

If there's a message in the results of this month's school bond and budget override votes, the meaning is up for wide interpretation. The approval rate for overrides and bond issues requested by school districts on Nov. 2 was lower than the five-year average, leading some to conclude that the public's willingness to pay more taxes for education has decreased.

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Ariz. colleges turn to young grads for cash

Sean O'Hara graduated from Arizona State University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in political science and then got a law degree from the University of Kansas. He belongs to the ASU Alumni Association, attends many home football games and plans to donate money to the school's foundation one day.

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