BRADENTON, Fla. - With Florida facing a projected deficit of $2.3 billion through the end of the fiscal year, new Senate President Jeff Atwater said he believes lawmakers may be forced into a special session in January to deal with budget cuts.

"Throughout the nation, and particularly this state, there has been a tectonic shift in the structural underpinnings of our economy," Atwater, a Republican from North Palm Beach, said Wednesday during an economic briefing with the full Senate ahead of appropriation committee meetings next week.

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