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Special sessions on budgets costing states big

Mon, Jul 27, 2009Economy
Chicago Tribune
By Greg Bluestein

ATLANTA - States are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece on special legislative sessions whose chief purpose, ironically, is to trim more funding from their eroding budgets.

Analysts expect the number of special sessions, a rarity in many states, to soar as governors are left with little choice but to herd lawmakers back to statehouses to shed combined billions from the states' budgets.

"The problem that many states are having now is that they haven't faced extremes like this before," said Brenda Erickson, a senior research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "And in many cases they don't have any options. They have to do it."

At least 14 states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, New York, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia -- have already called legislators back for another round of work. Special sessions are also a possibility in Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah.

Tags: Arizona State Legislature, Budgets

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