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California Lawmakers Pass Long-Overdue Budget

— State lawmakers have sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the main bill in a legislative package aimed at ending California's record budget impasse and closing a $19 billion deficit.

The Senate's vote early Friday comes more than three months after the start of the fiscal year, as the state was preparing to issue IOUs to state contractors.

The Senate's approval came hours after the Assembly acted Thursday.

The $87.5 billion general fund spending plan lawmakers sent to the Republican governor is nearly $16 billion less than the general fund just three years ago. It's a stark indication of the economic conditions in the nation's most populous state.

Schwarzenegger helped negotiate the budget deal, which includes no new taxes or fees, and is likely to sign it quickly.

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