Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata estimated Tuesday the state will face a $3 billion to $5 billion deficit this fiscal year without corrective actions, a significant gap that increases the likelihood lawmakers will have to consider new spending cuts or tax increases in a special midyear budget session.

The Oakland Democrat further predicted that California faces a $15 billion to $18 billion budget shortfall through June 2010. But he said it would be pointless to bring back lawmakers into a special session if Republicans will not consider tax increases.

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