Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said municipal bankruptcies are set to rise as there's less stigma attached after several California cities opted to seek protection just weeks apart.

The City Council of San Bernardino, Calif., a community of about 210,000 east of Los Angeles, decided July 10 to seek court protection from its creditors. The move came within weeks after Stockton, a community of 292,000 east of San Francisco, became the biggest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy. Mammoth Lakes, Calif., also sought the shelter this month.

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