Saturday December 29, 2012

By BOB SALSBERG

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts lawmakers are returning to face pressing issues that have developed within state government in recent months.

The 2013-2014 session begins Wednesday, with money matters likely at the top of the agenda.

The Legislature is expected to address the state's broken transportation funding system, though it's not yet clear how it might be fixed.

Gov. Deval Patrick wants prompt action on measures to close a projected $540 million gap between revenues and spending in the current budget. He's proposing a $200 million transfer from the state's so-called rainy day fund, and a 1 percent cut in aid to cities and towns.

Patrick is also asking the Legislature for $30 million to cover initial costs associated with a drug testing scandal blamed on a rogue chemist in a state lab.