Created: January 21, 2020 06:44 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— State Republican leadership hope to take a proactive approach with the state budget surplus during the legislative session. State economists have estimated a surplus of around $800 million.
Republican state Sen. Steven Neville said lawmakers need to navigate the surplus with extra regard.
“I think our biggest concern is that we do it right,” Sen. Neville said. “We want to make sure that a lot of it needs to be put in permanent one-time fixes in the state—roads, infrastructure, those kinds of things otherwise we may find ourselves in a world of hurt if we don't make sure that we're not being sound stewards.”
Republican Sen. Stuart Ingle is floating the idea of taking the surplus money and giving it back to taxpayers.
“When we have a lot of money like this, you know in my first years up here in the mid-80s in the legislature we actually used to send back $150 to $200, sometimes $400 to actual taxpayers for extra money that this state had that we didn't need to spend and we sent it back as a refund to our taxpayers,” Sen. Ingle said. “We need to take a hard look at that this year too.”
Lawmakers on both sides will also need to navigate the governor’s agenda—from education to recreational marijuana.
“We've got to talk to each other. Every one of us represents different parts of the state in different districts and none of us are right all the time. We've got to look at this state as a whole and try to make sure we do the very best we can,” Sen. Ingle said.
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