LOS ANGELES -- Participation by California local governments in a statebacked credit enhancement program has dramatically increased this year after the program was all but ignored by issuers during its first three years of existence.

This year, nearly $200 million in long-term issuances by cities and counties guaranteed by the state's so-called Credit Plus program is expected, compared with just $16.9 million of such issuances from 1991 to 1993.

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