The Associated Press

Mass. Budget Debate Heading Behind Closed Doors

BOSTON — The wrangling over the Massachusetts budget for the new fiscal year is headed behind closed doors.

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday gave final approval to its version. That sets the stage for negotiations with the House over the $34 billion spending plan for the state budget year that starts July 1.

Among key differences between the House and Senate versions is the level of spending for the University of Massachusetts.

Both plans increase funding, but the House included enough additional money to allow the university to freeze tuition for the academic year.

A six-member conference committee of House and Senate members will be charged with hammering out a compromise spending bill that must be approved by both chambers before being sent to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature.

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