The fiscal 2016 budget cycle was set to begin in less than 32 hours, but Beacon Hill leaders seemed confident Monday that the House and Senate would break their negotiation stalemate and deliver a final budget bill to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk.
"The good news on that one was the Ways and Means people weren't at this meeting today, so I take a lot of solace in that," Baker chuckled when asked for an update on the ongoing discussions.
"In all truthfulness, they are working to try to get it done and I think they're moving it along and doing the best they can to finalization of the budget," House Speaker Robert DeLeo said to reporters after being briefed on the new Boston 2024 Olympics bid plan.
For his part, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said the six-member conference committee finalizing the bill made a lot of progress over the weekend and have been "going at it all day today. Positively going at it."
At the heart of the Senate and House's disagreement is a battle over whether or not to allow the Senate's preferred tax language into the reconciled bill. The Senate's version of the budget called for a freeze on the state income tax, which House leaders oppose.
Baker signed a four-week stopgap budget last week just in case lawmakers missed the July 1 deadline to put a new spending plan in place. Lawmakers do not have any scheduled debates this week, so it looks like they plan to take advantage of the extra time the temporary budget affords them.