SAN FRANCISCO — Local governments in California are bracing for steep cuts in state funding as lawmakers in Sacramento debate the best ways to close a $21 billion to $24 billion budget gap.

The state’s fiscal 2009-2010 general fund budget has fallen out of balance since it was passed in February because tax revenues continue to decline, social service needs continue to rise, and voters last week rejected $5.8 billion of borrowing and fund transfers assumed in the budget. The Obama administration made it tougher to balance the budget as it has thus far refused to back $5.5 billion of revenue anticipation warrants the state had planned to issue to finance deficit spending.

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