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California Lawmakers Approve Budget

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California lawmakers have ended the nation´s longest budget impasse, agreeing to a 145 billion-dollar spending plan that eliminates the state´s persistent deficit.

The deal emerged quickly today after the Assembly and Senate failed to agree on a budget late last night. This ends a stalemate that has lasted more than seven weeks beyond the start of the fiscal year. It will free up billions of dollars in payments to a variety of social service agencies that rely on state funding, as well as to community colleges and some education programs.

The deal also allows the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to move forward on an ambitious policy agenda that includes sweeping health care reform and a proposal to overhaul California´s water-delivery system of reservoirs, pumps and canals.