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House passes $30.5b budget that limits health care bargaining

Posted April 29, 2011 08:41 AM

After four days of deliberations that largely took place outside public view, the Massachusetts House yesterday threw bipartisan support behind a $30.5 billion budget that included no new taxes or fees and made deep cuts to programs across state government.

The budget passed 157 to 1 just before 6 p.m., with only Andover Republican James Lyons voting to reject it. It now heads to the Senate, which will consider its own budget proposal in May.

Representative Brian Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the final budget checked in at $25 million to $30 million below Governor Deval Patrick’s $30.6 billion plan proposed in January.

“In challenging times, we need to have the discipline to find a balance,’’ Dempsey said, describing cuts to programs and a series of savings initiatives that helped close a budget gap as the state is exhausting billions of dollars in one-time federal economic stimulus law funds.

In his closing speech before passage of the budget, Dempsey heaped praise on Republican lawmakers for working closely with Democrats — and, in the end, he won the vote of nearly all of the House’s 31 minority party members.

Read more of Kyle Cheney's State House News Service story here.

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