Dempsey, Spilka Begin State’s Annual Budget Hearings

Haverhill Rep. Brian S. Dempsey and his Senate counterpart, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, began public hearings this week on Governor Charles D. Baker’s proposed $39.6 billion state budget for the next fiscal year.

Dempsey and Senate Ways and Means Chairperson Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) joined other members of the joint committee to launch the hearings in Gardner Auditorium at the State House, Boston. Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore was scheduled to lead off Tuesday’s hearing, being held until 5 p.m. Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, Secretary of State William Galvin and Inspector General Glenn Cunha were also invited to testify. Baker’s budget proposal was finished Jan. 27.

“The annual budget process begins each year when the governor files recommendations as a bill with the House of Representatives. Under the state constitution, the governor must submit a proposal by the 4th Wednesday in January or, in the event of a new term, within five weeks later,” a statement said.

“Today’s Joint Ways and Means hearing examines (the) governor’s FY’17 budget as we prepare our own (recommendations),” Spilka wrote on Twitter.

In addition to Dempsey, other local legislators serving on the joint committee include Sens. Kathleen A. O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) and Eileen M. Donoghue (D-Lowell); Reps. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen), Marcos A. Devers (D-Lawrence), James R. Miceli (D-Wilmingrton) and Colleeen M. Garry (D-Dracut).