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GREENSBORO, NC (AP) — The state budget picture and its local implications will be tops on the discussion list for the leaders of North Carolina’s biggest cities.

The Metro Mayors Coalition is scheduled to begin two days of meetings in Greensboro on Thursday. The group includes the leaders of 26 cities from across North Carolina.

Tops on the agenda is the state budget. Gov. Bev Perdue is scheduled to address the meeting Thursday.

Perdue has proposed a $19.9 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year with hopes of closing a $2.4 billion budget gap. A proposal from Republican lawmakers falls more than $1 million below what Perdue proposes in six key categories.

Local leaders have criticized Perdue’s plan, saying it reduces education funding by $350 million, putting a greater burden on local government.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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