07 / 18 / 2019
  - 04:20:09 PM
negotiators Are Said To Be "pretty close" To A Deal On A New State Budget

By MyFM's Rick Michaels - Leading House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly said talks are progressing and that negotiators are "pretty close" to a deal on a state budget, but negotiating teams led by State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston and State Senator Michael Rodrigues of Westport continue to bump heads on unspecified topics.  Michlewitz and Rodrigues are both new to their posts and it's not clear how deeply their supervisors, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka, both former Ways and Means chairs, are involved in the talks.  Expressing concern about the situation, DeLeo asked Gov. Charlie Baker to file another "one-twelfth" interim budget to keep state paychecks and services flowing without interruption in August,  in case House and Senate Democrats prolong the negotiations.  In the absence of a completed budget, the state is paying its bills based on a $5 billion interim budget that lawmakers quickly passed after it was offered by the Governor.  With their closed-door meetings now in their 49th day, this is the longest state budget negotiation without a resolution in at least a decade.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the famous late state budget of 1999, which also featured a test of wills among House and Senate Democrats…who dug in on budget differences and they didn't agree to a fiscal 2000 budget bill until November.   Lawmakers refuse to say what's holding up the budget…some say certain issues holding up the talks are "philosophical" while some are "very technical".  At this time last year, Spilka, then Ways and Means chair, was closing in on a late budget deal with former House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sanchez, a $41.9 billion agreement that was ratified by both branches on this day last year.

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