State lawmakers weigh in on special session priorities | KOB 4

State lawmakers weigh in on special session priorities

Kai Porter
Updated: May 21, 2020 06:13 PM
Created: May 21, 2020 06:01 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has scheduled a special legislative session for June 18.

When lawmakers return to the Roundhouse, they will be facing a budget deficit of more than $2 billion.

”It’s disappointing obviously that we were just there less than 6 months ago and having to go back now re-do our work,” said State Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-District 9), who chair the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. “It’s disappointing of course how poorly the economy is preforming. But you know it’s our responsibility. It’s our responsibility to go in there and fix things and I certainly plan to do that.”

Lundstrom believes they’ll be able to avoid making major cuts to the next budget, starting in July, thanks to more than a billion dollars in federal stimulus aid, and by dipping into the state reserves.

”I think our main fiscal challenge will be how quick the economy bounces back,” she said. “That’s hard to tell, and how fast oil prices and production will come back up. But I think generally speaking what we’re looking at is shoring up what we have. We want to make sure that we’re maintaining all of the services that we have a responsibility to the public. And not have major, major surgery in terms of major cuts.”

State Sen. John Arthur Smith, (D-District 35), chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, also agrees they’ll be able to re-balance the current and next budget. But he’s worried about the 2022 fiscal year’s budget, which starts in July of next year.

“If we don’t get federal relief, and we exhaust all of our reserves we will go into the 22 budget with absolutely no reserves and still a downturn in revenues from that standpoint,” he said.

When announcing the special session during a news conference Wednesday, Governor Lujan Grisham said she expects it to only last a few days.

“Between reserves, and the federal stimulus money, that we are in the best possible shape to deal with this economic crisis,” she said.

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