Legislative leaders said last night they had reached an informal agreement to end Massachusetts' 10-day-old budget crisis and to provide money to pay the state's bills -- and head off a state workers strike.
The agreement, which must be formally authorized by a conference committee, came after a half-hearted walkout by some of the state's 80,000 employes protesting payless paydays. The National Guard went on active duty yesterday after workers failed to report to some state hospitals, colleges and a sewage treatment plant.
The workers, along with welfare recipients and pensioners, have not been paid since June 30.
There was no indication whether lawmakers still might authorize a stopgap spending plan to speed up paychecks and benefit checks.
About 30 to 60 percent of day-shift workers were boycotting several state hospitals and schools for the retarded, according to Gov. Edward J. King's press office.
The pay issue is part of Massachusetts' efforts to cope with the passage by voters in November of Propositon 2 1/2, which cut property taxes and brought haggling at the statehouse over how to run the state on less money.
The dispute between the House and Senate has centered on how much new aid to give cities and towns that lost income from Proposition 2 1/2 and how many thousands of state employes to fire to transfer money for the cities and towns.