Lawmakers to reach 2018 budget agreement in weeks ahead

The state's Conference Committee met for the first time Monday

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – State lawmakers continue to debate next year’s budget.

The House and Senate are working to reach an agreement. State lawmakers have a difficult few weeks ahead to compromise on a final budget for 2018, but time is running out with less than a month left in the fiscal year.

The state’s Conference Committee met for the first time Monday, with the difficult task of compromising on a final budget for fiscal 2018.

The six member committee is comprised of three members from the House and three members from the Senate, including western Massachusetts representatives Stephen Kulik and Todd Smola.

The two chamber’s spending plans have similar bottom lines, with the Senate budget at $40.4 billion and the House budget at $40.3 billion.

But lawmakers craft the budget at a time when revenues to come in below expectations, bringing uncertainty for next year.

“If the trend continues as it has within the past few months of revenues not meeting their expectations then we will likely have to make some adjustments to the budgets,” Representative Kulik told 22News.

The committee is likely to meet again next week and is expected to come out with a final spending plan by the end of the month.