Panel of Lawmakers to Decide Final State Budget 

State House - 2BOSTON (AP) — With the start of the new fiscal year less than a month away, Beacon Hill lawmakers are preparing for final negotiations on the state’s nearly $40 billion state budget.

A six-member conference committee was appointed last week to hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The two plans call for a similar amount of spending and neither would raise taxes. But there are also numerous disagreements to be resolved before July 1.

Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland and Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, Democrats who chair the Ways and Means Committees in their respective chambers, will lead the conference committee discussions.

The panel’s first vote later this week is likely to be on a motion to hold its meetings behind closed doors

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