BRADENTON, Fla. - Facing some grim facts about the state of Florida's economy, the Legislature opened a special two-week session Monday to cut the budget.

In addition to lower-than-expected revenues that have helped create a projected $2.3 billion deficit through the end of fiscal 2009, lawmakers learned that unemployment is at record levels and the use of food stamps is rising with many newcomers entering the entitlement program.

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