Schwarzenegger signs Calif. budget 85 days late

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the state's $143 billion spending plan after the longest budget deadlock in state history.

The governor's signature comes nearly a quarter of the way through the fiscal year. Approval of the budget frees up billions in payments to medical clinics, nursing homes, daycare centers and contract vendors.

The budget battle isn't quite finished. Voters will be asked to tie up the agreement's loose ends during a special election next year.

The 85-day impasse stemmed from a partisan legislative standoff over how to close California's $15.2 billion deficit.

Republicans opposed any tax increase. Democrats sought to combine budget cuts with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Californians.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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