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RICHMOND--Citing a looming federal fiscal crisis and a lagging recovery, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has ordered Virginia state agencies to immediately prepare plans to cut their budgets by 4 percent.

The memo by McDonnell's chief of staff to heads of executive departments cites the 'fiscal cliff,' the prospect that Congress won't agree on debt reductions in time to avert deep, across-the-board cuts starting Jan. 1. The memo was obtained Thursday by the AP.

It was sent less than two days after Democratic President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney, the Republican for whom McDonnell campaigned extensively.

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