Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday he will call legislators into a special session to attempt to close the current-year budget deficit in his final month in office.
"I know this will be difficult, but as we know from experience, putting off the hard decisions to bring spending in line with our revenues only makes solving the problem more difficult," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
The announcement came one day after the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office projected that the deficit will climb to $25.4 billion by June 30, 2012. The estimate included a $6.1 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year, attributed in part to overly optimistic assumptions for spending reductions and federal aid included in the record-late spending plan passed last month.
Voters' approval of Proposition 22 also blew an $800 million hole in this year's budget, the LAO said.
Schwarzenegger plans to introduce his own proposal to close the current-year deficit, which will be based on the Department of Finance's estimate of the shortfall, spokesman Aaron McLear said. The plan, which will not include tax increases, will likely rely on steeper spending cuts proposed by Schwarzenegger earlier this year.
"The governor said he's going to sprint to the finish line, and that's exactly what he's doing here," McLear said. "He's not at all surprised that we have a deficit in the current year because the Legislature refused deeper cuts in the (current year) budget."
The governor also hinted at more cuts in his statement, saying, "Legislators will have to face the ugly truth that we can only spend the revenues we have."
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