The Week Ahead On Beacon Hill

Massachusetts House members gather for long sessions beginning today to process a $36.2 billion annual spending bill, casting votes with one eye on their districts where challengers face a biennial deadline to file nomination signatures.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey released his panel’s spending blueprint way back on April 9. House members agreed to a roughly 48-hour window to file amendments and submitted 1,175 proposals within that timeframe. Since April 11, amendment sponsors have been working behind the scenes to recruit support for their proposals, some of which have garnered a good deal of support like the more than 40 members backing additional funding for early childhood education.

The House budget’s bottom line is about $200 million lighter than the fiscal 2015 plan offered in January by Governor Deval Patrick and does not include any new taxes. Tax collections for fiscal 2014 are far exceeding original estimates and it appears likely that the House will add some spending to its budget, giving members who are seeking re-election additional points to promote on the campaign trail after formal sessions end on July 31.

For Susan Kaplan’s conversation with Matt Murphy about the week ahead on Beacon Hill, click the audio player above.