California lawmakers take up budget in tense economic times

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ADAM BEAM Associated Press SACRAMENTO (AP) — The California Legislature will meet Monday to pass a budget for these uncertain times, without knowing how much money they have to spend and without an agreement with Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose veto pen could force lawmakers to start over. The result will be a speculative spending plan that leaves cash-strapped local governments and public school districts hanging as they await their fate in a budget that must somehow cover a deficit the governor's office has estimated at $54.3 billion. The nation's most populous state — with an economy larger than most countries — is notorious for drawn-out budget battles that stretch deep into the fall. Voter-approved reforms sought to change that by, among other things, requiring lawmakers to pass a
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