Spending, saving New Mexico's surplus is a point of debate
January 14, 2019 10:24 PM
ALBUQUERQUE N.M.- Lawmakers will have a lot of extra money to allocate during the 2019 legislative session.
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.
Updated: January 14, 2019 10:24 PM
Created: January 14, 2019 10:17 PM
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