Furloughs, freeze in services on the table as NM faces budget shortfall | KOB 4

Furloughs, freeze in services on the table as NM faces budget shortfall

Chris Ramirez
Created: April 02, 2020 07:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- State lawmakers, briefed on revenue projections, warn the New Mexico’s state budget will be subject to deep cuts which may include furloughing state employees, freezing vacant positions and cutting services across state agencies.

“It's devastating news and we've been tracking it,” said Rep. Patty Lundstrom, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “Without question, we will be going into a special session and look at cutting.”

Rep. Lundstrom said, during a special session, lawmakers should ensure front line workers handling the COVID-19 crisis should have the resources they need.  

She also believes the legislators should work closely with economic development leaders so that the state can find more ways to jump start local businesses have been devastated by mandatory closures and stay-at-home orders.  

But, outside of those areas, Rep. Lundstrom said all options to rescue the state’s budget need to be on the table. It’s estimated the state budget will be anywhere from $1 billion to 2 billion short.

The revenue shortfall is caused by two major crises. With so many businesses shut down, they aren’t generating gross receipts taxes collected by the state.  Additionally, the IRS has delayed the personal income tax deadline, so the state won’t be able to collect on personal income tax for many New Mexicans until later in the year. 

And according to Triple-A New Mexico, gas and oil prices are in a free fall. The organization stated in a press release oil prices are down because the COVID-19 crisis is having a chilling effect on the global economy and there is a crude oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.  More than 40% of the New Mexico’s state budget is made up by gas and oil fees, taxes and leases.

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