California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a fiscal state of emergency Wednesday, hoping to pressure lawmakers into crafting the final version of the state budget-five weeks overdue--that will help close the $19 billion shortfall. California's massive deficit is 22 percent of the $85 billion general fund budget for the fiscal year that ended in June, but analysts said it could be several more weeks before a final budget is created. In Schwarzenegger's budget ultimatum, he ordered three days off without pay per month for tens of thousands of state employees. Labor officials immediately criticized the governor as using the furlough as a political ploy to get the budget passed. Schwarzenegger insisted the longer the budget delay lasts, the closer his state will be do a "fiscal meltdown."
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