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Schwarzenegger To Call For Special Session After New Lawmakers Are Sworn In

A new legislature will be sworn in today and Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to call them into an emergency budget session immediately. But there are doubts about how much can be accomplished with the lame-duck governor.

The budget signed by the Governor in October is already $6 billion out-of-whack, and Schwarzenegger is hoping to fix that before he leaves office in a few weeks.

As soon as the new group of lawmakers is sworn in, he’s expected to call the emergency session and release his own budget plan. But Democrats say it may be a bit late for that.

“We’ll of course work with Governor Schwarzenegger but I think in terms of actual agreements and probably action, we’re going to work with Governor Brown as well,” said Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg.

But Republican leaders say they’re pleased about the session. Incoming Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway says it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted.

“I just think it’s expedient that we do something now,” he said. “We’re going to call a special session. Let’s get to work right then and there. The longer we wait the worse the situation gets.”

Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont-McKenna College, said politically, the lame-duck Governor has little clout, but it’s not surprising he’s making an effort.

“It’s really going to be really difficult for the governor to make any serious changes in the fleeting weeks that remain in his tenure, but give the guy credit for trying.”

The current fiscal year shortfall is $6 billion, and next year’s is $19 billion. So if lawmakers don’t make any progress on the budget this month, the entire $25 billion becomes Governor-elect Jerry Brown’s problem.

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