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Lawmakers to begin state budget negotiations amid taxation dispute


BOSTON — Negotiations between Massachusetts lawmakers on the state's $38 billion budget will soon get underway amid a legal dispute over tax changes proposed by the Senate.

A conference committee made up of three members of the House and three from the Senate will hold its first meeting on Thursday as it tries to reconcile differences between versions of the spending plan approved in both chambers.

The meeting is scheduled one day before a deadline set by the state's highest court for legal briefs to be submitted in the procedural fight over taxes.

The Senate voted to freeze the states' income tax rate at 5.15 percent, while also boosting the state's earned income tax credit. The House has challenged the Senate's power to act on taxes, arguing the Massachusetts constitution requires taxation bills to originate in the House.

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