By Kevin Yamamura
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Facing a deadline to act on the state’s fiscal crisis, lawmakers on Monday sent a handful of budget solutions to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Democrats and the Republican governor remain divided on tax-related proposals.

The governor declared a fiscal emergency in January and called a special session of the Legislature to tackle part of the state’s $19.9 billion deficit within 45 days, the last of which was Monday. Schwarzenegger asked lawmakers to resolve $8.8 billion of the gap, while the Legislature on Monday sent about $2.3 billion in solutions to the governor.

Lawmakers say they met their deadline requirement by sending bills to Schwarzenegger and that they can keep working on more budget proposals in special session. Democrats have proposed a package totaling $5 billion.

“The Legislature is clearly focused on solving the deficit and we’re confident they will pass some solutions this week,” said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear.

The Assembly fumbled to start Monday’s session, voting on wrong versions of several budget bills until legislators realized their mistake. The Assembly withdrew the bills and erased vote tallies before starting over on the correct bills.

Assembly Republicans bristled Monday at the fact that majority Democrats were pushing through a plan in which they had little input. Democrats had crafted the proposal so that it largely relied on majority-vote bills.

In their package, Democrats shunned most of Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts to social services and education, preferring instead to discuss those items later this year as part of a larger budget debate.

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