LOS ANGELES -- The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities cannot levy business license taxes on savings and loan associations, a decision that might spur Los Angeles to sell a $240 million bond issue to cover refunds.

Los Angeles and two dozen other municipalities had argued that so-called charter cities with home-rule powers could impose the tax, despite a 1979 state law prohibiting such levies on nonbank financial institutions. California's Supreme Court, however, held that state law takes precedence in a matter "of statewide concern."

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