WASHINGTON -- The states will not ratify a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget unless the measure protects them from unfunded federal mandates, state and local lobbyists said yesterday.

Even though the new Republican-controlled Congress appears likely to approve a balanced budget amendment when it convenes in January, the groups representing state and local officials say they will fight to defeat any amendment unless it prevents the federal government from imposing new programs on states and localities without helping to pay for the cost.

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