House lawmakers approve $10.1B state budget proposal
SANTA FE, N.M. — We have reached the halfway point of the 30-day legislative session, and the new proposed state budget has also crossed the halfway point.
Lawmakers in New Mexico are proposing a roughly $10.1 billion budget – a 6% increase from last year’s historic budget, and that doesn’t include an extra $1.3 billion in one-time payments.
Members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, which assembles the proposed budget, admit this increase in spending is largely thanks to the oil and gas industry. However, recent projects suggest that the cash pipeline will start drying up in the coming years.
That’s why Democrat leaders say this year’s budget invests more than a billion dollars in trust funds and other endowments to be used in the future, but the budget still includes multi-million dollar funding boosts for almost every state department, including a 4% pay raise for public school employees and state workers.
Lawmakers highlighted major investments in career technical education programs, pre-K expansion, road maintenance projects, Medicaid reimbursement rate increases, and statewide conservation funds – all while keeping roughly a third of the budget in reserves.
WHAT’S NOT IN THE BUDGET?
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham asked state lawmakers for a lot this year, including $30 million for a new literacy institute. That’s not in the budget, but lawmakers did include millions for literacy programs.
The governor also asked for $500 million for affordable housing initiatives. House lawmakers only included about $120 million, but they say that’s still a monumental investment.
A budget of this size was always going to face some opposition, and that was seen on the House floor Wednesday. Republican lawmakers criticized Democrats for not taking the opportunity to use record revenues to ease financial burdens on New Mexico taxpayers.
The House eventually approved an amended version of the budget proposal with bipartisan support.
JUST IN: House lawmakers approved a $10.1 Billion state budget proposal on a 53-16 vote.— Griffin Rushton (@GriffinRushton) January 31, 2024
The proposal now heads to the senate.