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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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Lobbyist, lawmaker to resume Clean Elections clash (access required)

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission has renewed a $6,500-per-month contract with lobbyist Mike Williams, setting up another battle over the fate of the public campaign-funding system. Todd Lang, director of the Clean Elections Commission, said hiring a lobbyist was necessary to protect a system he credits with increasing political participation of the public and encouraging people to run for office.

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GOP pushing for 1-day special session (access required)

Barring any surprises, Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to call the Legislature into special session in the next few days. But her 1-cent sales tax hike won't be on the table - at least not this time. Still up in the air is the possibility of doing a second special session, possibly in December, for another round of cuts and potentially approving revenue generating options.

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