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July 1 fiscal year likely to arrive in Massachusetts without new budget in place

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BOSTON — The state's new fiscal year is days away and it will apparently arrive without a final budget in place.

The House and Senate have both approved spending plans of approximately $38 billion, but a six-member conference committee has yet to agree on a final version. So when fiscal year 2016 begins on Wednesday, the state will likely operate under a stopgap budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Budget negotiations are secret and legislative leaders haven't indicated what issues might be holding up final agreement.

One possibility is taxes. The Senate voted to freeze the income tax rate at 5.15 percent while boosting the earned income tax credit for low-income working families.

The House asked for a legal opinion on whether the Senate could initiate the tax proposal. The Supreme Judicial Court sided with the Senate on the matter.

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