The Latest: New Mexico generally pleased with budget bill
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on state budget negotiations in the New Mexico Statehouse (all times local):
A spokeswoman for Gov. Susana Martinez says she is generally pleased by a budget bill from the Legislature and how it prioritizes public safety and economic development.
Martinez spokeswoman Emilee Cantrell said in an email that the governor and her staff will review the $6.3 billion budget plan from lawmakers line by line and are skeptical of some wasteful projects, without specifying which ones.
Cantrell says the governor won’t hesitate to use her line-item veto authority. She said any bills involving tax increases are dead on arrival at her office.
Approved by lawmakers on Wednesday, the budget bill would increase state general fund spending by 4 percent and includes base pay increases for public school teachers and all state workers.
The New Mexico Legislature has sent a $6.3 billion budget plan to the governor that would boost spending on public schools, the criminal justice system, roadways and Medicaid in the coming fiscal year.
The House and Senate on Wednesday evening approved a compromise on disputed budge provisions.
New Mexico governor Susana Martinez can veto the budget line-by-line or in its entirety. The budget bill fulfills much of the governor’s requests for greater spending on law enforcement salaries and prosecutors in the Albuquerque area.
In all, the budget bill would increase state general fund spending by 4 percent. It includes base pay increases for public school teachers and all state workers. A rebound in the oil sector is shoring up state government finances after two years of austerity measures.
Leading New Mexico lawmakers have resolved a budget standoff between the House and Senate that is delaying approval of a $6.3 billion spending bill.
A conference committee of six lawmakers from the House and Senate agreed Wednesday to adjustments in spending on road maintenance, highway restroom upkeep, school district reimbursements and subsidies for police hiring.
Rep. Patricia Lundstrom said it was important to preserve spending on roads to boost employment and the state economy. She also described the budget disagreements as no big deal.
The committee agreed to $44 million in general fund spending on statewide road maintenance for the coming fiscal year. The state will return $5 million to public school district accounts, and earmark $4 million toward highway rest stops.
The New Mexico Legislature is racing against the clock to resolve a budget stalemate over how to spend a windfall in state income.
House lawmakers were preparing Wednesday for a likely conference committee with Senate colleagues to iron out disagreements over a $6.3 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year.
House lawmakers are refusing to concur with an assortment of Senate budget amendments because of disagreements over road funding.
The Senate-approved budget allocates additional money to Albuquerque-based prosecutors and pay raises for state police, prison guards and parole officers.
Democrats hold a majority in both chambers of the Legislature. The Legislature has until noon Thursday to send a budget bill to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
A rebound in the oil sector is shoring up state government finances.