The Massachusetts Senate passed a $15.3 billion budget yesterday morning after 18 consecutive hours of debate.
The Massachusetts budget must be enacted before fiscal 1994 begins July 1, according to state law.
Before reaching Gov. William F. Weld's desk, the budget needs to be finalized by a joint House and Senate committee, which will have to work out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the budget.
Legislative sources said there are few major differences between the Senate's $15.3 billion budget and the House's $15.45 billion budget, which was passed earlier this month.
The sources said they expect the measure to be passed by the joint committee over the next week.
Several measures were added to the budget in the Senate without increasing the bottom line, and House members have for the most part voiced support for them.
The Senate approved the fiscal 1994 budget package by a 38-to-1 vote, with no tax increases or changes in spending. The plan passed the Senate with only Sen. Jane Swift, R-North Adams, voting against it.
Included in the package is a $175 million appropriation for education reform, which was the largest single addition to the Senate's budget.
Both the House and the Senate approved the education reform measure, which was initiated by Weld, earlier this month.
Several sources in the state Senate said its inclusion was a major part of what Weld wanted to see before signing the package.
At the same time, the Senate did little to change the House's proposal for the state to fund $34 million in relief for the Boston Harbor cleanup.
Massachusetts legislators have been pressured by local civic groups during the past few months to increase the amount of state funding for the cleanup, as well as other water and sewer projects in the state.
Meanwhile, state senators approved a $30 million allocation to help local governments pay for capital projects. In addition, they approved a change in state law that would allow water bills to be added to property tax bills.
This measure would allow home owners to deduct their water and sewer charges from their federal income taxes.
The Senate also approved a "workfare" program that would mandate that mothers in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program for more than 24 months enroll in education programs, job training, or community service to get off welfare as soon as possible.
Senators also passed a pilot "Families In Transition" plan that would allow welfare recipients to continue receiving reduced benefits when they start working.
The budget plan does not contain any changes to the controversial Proposition 2 1/2, which limits the amount by which a municipality can raise taxes in a fiscal year.