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Break reported in Calif. budget standoff

SACRAMENTO, July 15 (UPI) -- Legislative leaders said they were meeting with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday on a deal to end the state budget stalemate.

Details of the breakthrough were not immediately available but some lawmakers told the Los Angeles Times it could mean a final budget deal is imminent.

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"I don't think there is anything that would make negotiations shut down at this point," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

California has been wrestling with a combination of a $26.3 billion deficit and partisan opposition to either massive spending cuts or a tax increase. The state requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to pass a budget.

The Times said legislative staffers said the breakthrough came after a series of Tuesday night meetings with the leaderships and Schwarzenegger that resolved a deadlock over cuts in education spending.

Despite fierce opposition from, among others, the powerful California Teachers Association, education aid has been seen as a major issue in the budget debate.

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