Special Session Begins

New Mexico – The Legislature is heading back to work for a large patching job on the state's finances.

Lawmakers and Gov. Bill Richardson need to balance the state's $5.5 billion budget, which is running in the red because of a $650 million revenue shortfall. The governor met with lawmakers on Friday to hear their latest budget proposals. Richardson plans to offer a counterproposal Saturday.

Lawmakers are looking at a combination of spending cuts and moves to free up one-time revenue to balance the budget and leave the state with reserves close to 6 percent.

Educational unions plan to pack the Capitol on Saturday with school workers, students and parents to lobby against cutting education and for tax increases to deal with the deficit.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.