Spending, saving New Mexico's surplus is a point of debate | KOB 4
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Spending, saving New Mexico's surplus is a point of debate

Chris Ramirez
January 14, 2019 10:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE N.M.- Lawmakers will have a lot of extra money to allocate during the 2019 legislative session.

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Former Governor Susana Martinez penned an open letter in the Albuquerque Journal that said the budget surplus was at $2 billion.

However, the surplus is closer to half of what the former governor wrote about.

“Definitely not $2 billion,” said Olivia Padilla-Jackson, secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration. “It is growth of new money of $1.1 billion.” 

When it comes to planning for state spending, Padilla-Jackson said planning for a $2 billion surplus would have been a mistake.

“We are exposed to the volatility of the global oil prices. We want to make sure that we are not committing all of that surplus ongoing on a recurring basis and putting away enough in reserves so that we can weather any downturn in prices,” Padilla-Jackson said.

The non-partisan Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) is the second piece of the puzzle to the state budget.

Legislators will hammer out a budget based on recommendations from the LFC and the governor.

With a projected $1.1 billion surplus, the LFC and the governor want to make a significant investment in public education.

The governor wants to commit $500 million more dollars to schools, students and teachers.

However, the LFC recommends increasing the education budget by about $400 million.

The governor also wants to save 25 percent of the revenue, while the LFC recommends saving 21 percent.

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Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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