State budget clears House vote, moves to Senate
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The state budget passed in the House Wednesday. It will now move to the Senate for consideration.
The $7.39 billion spending plan includes raises for state employees and teachers.
It also includes a 5% increase to public education.
The money would be used to extend learning days. The state would to like to extend the school year.
The state is counting on a possible $1 billion in federal funding to help make classrooms more COVID-safe. The plan hinges on congressional approval.
Despite declining enrollment, higher education is poised to get a $23 million boost.
Funding levels for the Opportunity Scholarship will remain the same, at $5 million.
But some Republicans questioned the spending plan.
"Our education budget has about a 5.5% increase when very few of our children are in school. That’s troubling on a couple of fronts," said Rep. Jim Townsend. "Having a pay increase, as you well know, I’m totally supportive of adequate pay for state employees, I have spoken out on that on multiple occasions at a time of such unemployment, I think that was about $63 million in the budget that I personally found troubling."
The state expects a 10% enrollment boost in Medicaid. The budget plans for $64 million additional dollars for that.
The Department of Health would get a 3.4% boost.
This budget includes a Pandemic Relief Package that totals about $400 million.
The budget would replenish that Unemployment Insurance Fund with $325 million.
Five million dollars would be used for tourism marketing.
The budget also adds about $300 million to fix state and local roads, and $30 million to expand broadband internet access.
The budget is not a done deal.
It will head over to the Senate, where adjustments could be made.
After the House and Senate agree on the adjustments, it will go to the governor for a signature.