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Budget Stalemate Over

After 26 days of political dealmaking and wrangling, California budget standoff is over. Governor Schwarzenegger and legislative party leaders agreed late Monday on an estimated $103 billion budget.

The centerpiece of the spending plan is $2.7 billion in bond money approved by voters in March. The plan also imposes about $5 billion in spending cuts — far less than Republicans wanted and Democrats feared. A separate agreement was also worked out allowing the state to take $2.6 billion in property taxes from cities and counties over the next two years.

Under the agreement, the Legislature and Schwarzenegger will support a constitutional amendment protecting local coffers from future state raids. The agreement still needs approval from two-thirds of the Legislature.