New Mexico Legislature assigns $1B in federal relief funds

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Legislature is asserting its budgetary authority over $1.6 billion in new federal aid that dwarfs year-to-year spending adjustments, setting an agenda for economic recovery that Gov. Lujan Grisham can challenge only with her veto pen.

Legislators want to replenish the state’s unemployment fund, bail out public museums and historic sites and endow the state’s lottery scholarship with $100 million.

Some states are only beginning to sort out spending priorities for federal funds.

Congress and President Joe Biden approved the $1.9 trillion relief package this month that funnels billions of dollars directly to New Mexico’s state government, school districts and local governments.