State Legislature approves $6.3B budget | KOB 4
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State Legislature approves $6.3B budget

Chris Ramirez and KOB.com Web Staff
February 14, 2018 09:00 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The state's $6.3 billion spending bill is headed to Gov. Susana Martinez.

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Late Wednesday afternoon, key members of the state Senate and the state House reached some agreements on areas of the budget where they differed on. After some small technical changes, it appears the public safety package for the metro was kept intact.

After that agreement was reached, both chambers in the Legislature adopted the conference committee's report.

“This budget focuses on diversifying the economy and allowing local communities to thrive, while also addressing crime and public safety,” said House Appropriations and Finance Committee Chair Patty Lundstrom, D-Gallup.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez asked for $5.4 million to help him get through more cases. The budget right now gives him $3.2 million extra. His employees will get an additional 6.5 percent pay increase and his office will get $2.5 million to establish a crime strategies unit, reduce the case backlog, and prosecute the Victoria Martens case.

There's new money for road projects, including $44 million for statewide projects and $4 million to rehabilitate road rest stops.

There are pay increases for all state employees, including a 2.5 percent increase for teachers and 8.5 percent increase for New Mexico State Police officers and correctional officers.

"This budget invests in priorities and initiatives that are needed across the state. From repairing our roads to investing in good-paying jobs, our budget is an outline of more than just spending – it’s an outline of priorities that all New Mexicans share,” said Rep. George Dodge D-Santa Rosa.

Martinez has the power to line-item veto anything in the budget that she doesn't agree with. On Thursday, the governor is expected to discuss how she's feeling about the budget. She called an earlier version "soft on crime."

But Wednesday, a Martinez spokesperson said she will take a deeper look into the spending plan and will use her line-item veto where she sees fit.

"The governor worked with legislative leaders and is generally pleased by the budget and how it prioritizes public safety, crime, and economic development," Press Secretary Emilee Cantrell said. "However, the Governor and her staff will review the budget line by line and are skeptical of some of the wasteful pork projects included in this and other bills and will not hesitate to exercise her line-item veto authority.  As always, any tax increases are dead on arrival."

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Chris Ramirez and KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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