Beacon Hill has to cope with a slowing economy as it assembles spending plans for the next fiscal year. The elected officials who will be in charge of negotiating the state budget were announced Thursday.

The conflict between the liberal Senate and more moderate House over how much the state should tax and spend is taking shape, with Senate President Karen Spilka selecting veteran Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport as her chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Across the negotiating table will be the relatively fresh faced Rep. Aaron Michlewitz from the North End, who Speaker Robert DeLeo anointed as his new budget chair.

Longtime state fiscal watchdog Michael Widmer said he sees challenges ahead.

"There are going to be particular pressures for any newcomer because he or she has not chaired the Ways and Means, and there's a steep learning curve," Widmer said.

Sluggish tax income in recent months has put into question how much the state can spend as leaders sort out their priorities.

Marie-Frances Rivera, the interim president at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, said the new chairs need to look to higher taxes in order to find money to fund education, affordable housing and climate change preparations.

"Without a bold plan to generate substantial new revenue, it'll be difficult for state lawmakers to fully support all the people in the Commonwealth," Rivera said.

Michlewitz and Rodrigues will have to reconcile the goals of the centrist House with the more liberal Senate.