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Calif. lawmakers pledge fiscal prudence for budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Legislative leaders are promising to use the state's projected budget surplus wisely as lawmakers begin their annual session.

Members of the state Assembly and Senate were jovial during their opening sessions Monday, but many are looking ahead to Friday, when Gov. Jerry Brown releases his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

The Legislative Analyst's Office is projecting a $3.2 billion surplus, the first one in years.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, a Democrat, says his top priority is ensuring California's fiscal stability by building a rainy day fund.

Yet after years of cuts, many groups will be asking lawmakers to restore funding to programs.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, a Tulare Republican, says she hopes the governor maintains his fiscal moderation to rein in Democratic efforts to spend the money.

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