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Jerry Brown to declare California in state of ‘fiscal emergency’

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday is expected to declare California to be in a state of fiscal emergency, asking legislators to act quickly on a package to shrink a state budget facing a $25.4-billion shortfall.

The move is largely procedural. Thursday marks the deadline for the Legislature to act on a similar emergency declaration made by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in early December. Since then, legislators have approved no deficit-cutting measures.

Brown's declaration, obtained by The Times and dated Jan. 20, 2011, resets the 45-day clock for the Legislature to act. The governor's office did not return calls for comment on the move.

Without Brown's order, which says it "supersedes" the former governor's proclamation, the Legislature would not have been allowed to recess or pass any legislation other than bills tackling the deficit.

Brown has asked the Legislature to approve his budget plan, a mixture of taxes and deep cuts, by March 1.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

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