Attorney General upset with Gov. Martinez's line item vetoes

Created: 03/12/2014 10:11 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico wanted three percent raises for state employees. The governor upheld them for some workers, but used line item vetoes to nix them for others.

“The veto that the governor enacted affected everybody from my mailroom up to my attorneys. As far as I'm aware, the only agency that had that impact, and it was a specific line item, a specific language for the attorney general's office,” New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said Wednesday.

In her report on the budget, the governor wrote that cuts had to be made somewhere, and that “political appointees and elected officials” should take the hit, “not state workers and teachers,” so she vetoed raises for judges, district attorneys, the attorney general’s office and all appointed employees.”

King says he’s fine with cuts at the top, but feels this will unfairly impact workers who’ve been with his office for decades and weren’t politically appointed during his term.

“I think it's just vindictive for the governor to veto language that impacts not me personally, but impacts the people that work in my agency every day,” King said.

King and Governor Martinez are staunch political opponents and are both running for governor.

In response to King’s comments, Martinez’s office released a statement reading:

“Those proposed raises were in the same line item as all political appointees, including every single person appointed by the Governor and those who work in her office. The Legislature didn't have to write the bill that way but they did. Governor Martinez felt it was far more important to give salary increases to teachers and public safety workers like child abuse caseworkers, than it was to increase pay for political appointees. “

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