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Governors ask president for flexibility in fiscal cliff deal

Request Obama not to shift burden to states

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National Governors Association Vice Chair, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, center, talks to reporters outside the White House in Washington today following a meeting between the NGA executive committee and President Obama regarding the fiscal cliff. From left are, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Fallin, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, and NGA Chairman, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

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WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of governors says they sought assurances from President Barack Obama that any cuts in spending to address the looming “fiscal cliff” would not shift the financial burden onto states. They say they want flexibility from the federal government on mandated programs to allow them to do more with less.

The governors -- three Republicans and three Democrats -- met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to urge that the White House and Congress negotiate a deal that avoids automatic across-the-board tax hikes and drastic spending cuts.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat and chairman of the National Governors Association, said the governors didn't endorse either the president's proposal to raise taxes on wealthier Americans or Republican proposals to raise revenue by closing tax loopholes and deductions.

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