Updated: February 18, 2021 05:23 PM
Created: February 18, 2021 04:47 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexico lawmakers believe the state's economy is in better shape than originally thought.
They are forecasting New Mexico will bring in $300 million new dollars.
According to a key lawmaker who spends most of her days working on the budget, about 75% of that new money is coming from the oil and gas industry.
The $7.2 billion spending plan includes pay increase for state employees and teachers.
The state took out some federal loans during the pandemic. The budget will allocate money to pay that money back to the federal government.
Repairing roads and expanding broadband are also a major focus of the budget. It aims to send money to tribes to help with water, roads and electrical and broadband connectivity.
This budget also calls for the state's savings account to be at about 22%.
Republicans have expressed concerns that the state is building a budget on one-time federal dollars.
"We have what I would call a fake economy," said Rep. Rod Montoya. "Dollars that are sustaining our budget that are coming from the federal government. That's what has happened, federal dollars have gone into the economy here and in a phoney way has upheld us."
Meanwhile, Democrats say they recognize that federal money is coming into New Mexico.
"Most of that is tied to the pandemic and pandemic use," said Rep. Patty Lundstrom. "We expect a big chunk going to public education, to school districts, to high education, obviously healthcare and human services. But this is generally to cover expenses not anticipated because of the pandemic."
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