- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Top Massachusetts lawmakers said Thursday that they have reached a final compromise on an approximately $40 billion state budget plan nearly a week into the new fiscal year.

The Massachusetts House and Senate have both scheduled formal sessions Friday where they expect to vote on the spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year that began July 1.

Leaders of the six-member conference committee charged with hammering out the compromise between separate House and Senate versions of the budget offered few details about the final bill.

The bill will be filed Friday, just before a final vote in both chambers.

“On behalf of our fellow conferees we would like to announce that the conference committee working on the FY2018 Budget, has reached an agreement to resolve all differences between the House and Senate versions,” Rep. Brian Dempsey and Sen. Karen Spilka, both Democrats, said in a joint statement.

“The conference report will be filed tomorrow morning and the branches will act on the conference report in session tomorrow,” they added.

Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg also said he’s “very optimistic the budget will be ready” to vote on Friday.

Asked by reporters on Thursday what was in the budget, Rosenberg said “not nearly enough” pointing to what he described as a huge hole that lawmakers needed to close.

According to estimates from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, the revenue shortfall for fiscal 2017, which ended on June 30, is around $430 million.

Spending levels in the proposed fiscal 2018 budget have been based on a projected 3.9 percent increase in revenues over what had been anticipated for fiscal 2017, not what the state has actually taken in.

Massachusetts was one of a handful of states that failed to have a new budget in place for the start of the new fiscal year. Instead of shutting down, state government in Massachusetts continued regular operations thanks to an interim $5.2 million budget that was approved last month.

The compromise budget is subject to an up-or-down vote in both chambers. It cannot be amended.

Baker will have 10 days to review and sign the budget and issue any vetoes.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide