State budget incomplete until next week at the latest

FY16 budget will likely total $38.1 billion

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – July 1 marks the start of a brand new fiscal year, a time when lawmakers must have the state budget in place. House members have been on standby all week in case an agreement is reached, but it will not happen before the holiday weekend.

“The Speaker’s office sent out a communication saying ‘keep Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday open.’ I think the Speaker was hoping something could be done, so that everybody was a little on edge,” said State Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford).

A six-member conference committee has spent the past several weeks hammering out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The negotiations take place behind closed doors so it is difficult to know the problem areas. The two branches disagree on tax policy and how to fix Boston’s troubled public transportation system. State Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) told 22News the budget will likely be finished by next week. He said, “the size of the budget, $38.1 billion, it’s more important to get it right than to get it by a particular date, and you know we’re close.”

Governor Charlie Baker signed a $5.5 billion temporary funding bill to keep critical services going for the next two weeks. That may have taken the pressure off the rush to finish the budget before the Fourth of July weekend.

Once the state budget hits his desk, the Governor has ten days to review it, and make his changes before signing it into law.

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