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Mass. lawmakers to weigh next year's revenues

BOSTON (AP) -- Less than a week after Massachusetts was forced to lower its estimate for total tax collections in the current fiscal year, officials are about to start shaping next year's projection.

The House and Senate Ways and Means Committees will hold a joint hearing Tuesday to help develop a consensus revenue estimate for Fiscal 2014, which begins July 1. The estimate forms a basis for determining the level of spending in the next state budget.

Gov. Deval Patrick said last week that the current year revenue estimate was being lowered by $540 million. He also announced spending cuts and other measures to deal with the shortfall.

He blamed the sluggish tax collections in part on anxiety over the looming "fiscal cliff."

Economists will be among those testifying at Tuesday's hearing.