Updated: January 12, 2021 05:25 PM
Created: January 12, 2021 03:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexico lawmakers released their budget proposals ahead of the 60-day legislative session.
"The New Mexico economy is struggling, but the state is not in as bad as shape as we anticipated nine months ago," said Sen. Roberto 'Bobby' J. Gonzales.
The Legislative Finance Committee is calling for a 4% increase in spending. Its budget totals $7.36 billion.
That's slightly higher than the governor's proposed budget, which would be a 3.3% spending increase.
State lawmakers say their spending plan doesn’t include any deep cut, and leaves a 22% reserve.
"We want to make sure that we have funds available into the departments for needed services," said Rep. Patty Lundstrom. "So this is all about New Mexicans and helping us move through this pandemic as well as some of the downturn in the economy.”
The lawmakers are also proposing $60 million for state employees, public school employees and higher education employees-- to get pay raises of about 1.5%.
"This is a budget that we are all very proud of and that we believe is the beginnings of what will be House Bill 2 and eventually the state budget that we will send to the governor for her signature," said Rep. Javier Martinez.
Lawmakers say their efforts to build up a strong reserve and federal stimulus money softened the blow of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
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