SAN FRANCISCO - If California lawmakers do not close the deficit in the state's approved budget, California could run out of cash and be forced to pay its bills with IOUs beginning in March, according to Controller John Chiang.

That's just one of the dire warnings the state's top fiscal officers gave lawmakers in a special joint session of the Legislature yesterday. California faces an $11 billion deficit in the $103.4 billion budget for fiscal 2008-2009, which was approved in September after a three-month budget standoff.

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