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House approves $34 billion spending plan

The House passed its fiscal 2014 budget late Wednesday, a $34 billion document balanced with new taxes and withdrawals from state reserves, on a party-line 127 to 29 vote.

The House vote was the most recent iteration in a game of fiscal chess between Governor Deval Patrick and legislative leaders. After Patrick stumped for a $1.9 billion tax increase for transportation and education spending, House Speaker Robert A. ­DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray responded with a $500 million tax hike, much narrower in scope than Patrick’s.

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Patrick quickly issued a veto threat, and, with ill feelings running high on Beacon Hill, the Senate passed a compromise measure. That bill, though, still rejects Patrick’s early education proposal.

After the budget deliberations were shelved last week by the terrorist attacks, this week’s House budget debate became the next theater.

House members this week were combing line items for evidence that any colleagues who voted against DeLeo’s original transportation bill had faced retribution in the form of reduced appro­priations.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at
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