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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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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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Special session No. 4 will target schools, DES funding (access required)

Republican legislative leaders have reached a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer to erase a portion of the estimated $2 billion budget deficit in a special session later this month, including about $300 million in spending cuts. The plan, if carried out, would eliminate a fraction of the overall deficit, and a $1.4 billion shortfall would remain.

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Budget fix pitched to GOP lawmakers (access required)

The budget fix being shopped to Republican lawmakers would erase a little more than a quarter of the estimated $2 billion deficit and include about $300 million in permanent spending cuts. House Majority Whip Andy Tobin said the deal Republican leaders have reached with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer would include $140 million in cuts to K-12 education and $140 million in cuts to ADES.

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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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