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Gavin Newsom tackles a $68 billion deficit for the world’s fifth largest economy, the AI explosion and the Hollywood implosion

Source: Associated Press, Tran Nguyen, Adam Beam

California lawmakers return to work on Wednesday for the start of an election-year legislative session dominated by decisions on artificial intelligence and the state’s struggling budget.

The budget is a big issue every year in California, which is the nation’s most populous state and has an economy larger than that of all but four countries. But this year, lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will have to figure out how to cover an estimated $68 billion deficit — a shortfall that is larger than the entire operating budgets of many states.