LOS ANGELES - Financial pressures on California counties have diminished following last Tuesday's voter approval of a statewide sales tax measure, Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Corp. said last week.

The measure, Proposition 172, permanently extends a half-cent sales tax that is expected to raise about $1.5 billion annually for local police and fire services. Cities will share a portion of the revenues, but most proceeds will benefit counties.

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