New Mexico Senate endorses spending boost | KOB 4
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New Mexico Senate endorses spending boost

Associated Press, Kai Porter
March 13, 2019 06:18 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Senate has approved a $700 million increase in annual general fund spending devoted mostly to public education.

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The Democrat-led Senate voted 39-2 Wednesday on the $7 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1. The bill now returns to the House to consider scores of Senate amendments.

The budget bill is a crucial component of efforts to address a court order to increase resources for a troubled public education system. A district court judge says public schools across the state fail to provide an adequate education for low-income and minority students.

Sen. Steven Neville sits on the Senate Finance Committee and says they are proposing 123 amendments to the budget passed by the House.

"A lot of them were technical and minor. We took the ones that we had to do," Neville said. "We had a few million dollars that had not been committed by the House so we were able to fill in a few holes and programs." 

The Senate Finance Committee increased spending slightly on the $7 billion budget — from a 10.8 percent increase over last year to 11.1 percent, as proposed by the House.

Although Neville plans to vote for the Senate's proposed budget, he shares concerns with his fellow Republicans over the amount of spending. 

"The bottom line is we got a big increase suddenly, a lot of money came in, a billion dollars plus," Neville said. "We don't know how long that's sustainable." 

Democrats have insisted the proposed spending won't break the budget. 

Once the House approves all the changes the Senate made, the bill will go to the governor's desk. 

Track this bill during the legislative session

Credits

Associated Press, Kai Porter

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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