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Protection of Local Coffers Getting Close

Officials working on the state budget may be close to reaching an agreement between the state and local governments on funding cuts.

Negotiators say local leaders may agree to accept deep funding cuts this year and next in exchange for a bigger share of property taxes.

In exchange, local governments would also want a promise from the state not to raid their coffers in the future.

Officials say Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown new interest reaching an agreement with local governments after qualification last week of a November initiative that protect cities and counties from future raids on their revenue sources by the state.

While an agreement with local governments is probably not critical to the governor getting his budget passed, removing their opposition would allow him to concentrate on other issues.