capitol reports

Capitol Report 2/15/2022 – Budget Heads to Conference Committee

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The $8.5 billion state budget is heading to a conference after the Senate and House couldn’t agree on the budget amendments.

Jason Espinoza reports from the Roundhouse:

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The state’s budget is headed to a conference committee after the House of Representatives voted against a motion to concur with the Senate budget amendments. The amended budget previously passed the Senate Floor on a strong bipartisan 37-3 vote.

The current budget increases spending by 13.9% over last year, which equates to just over a $1 billion increase. Specifically, the Senate amendments increased the proposed budget by nearly $140 million in nonrecurring expenditures and $11.1 million

The $8.5 billion dollar budget includes funding for a 7% pay increase for state employees, a 30% increase for judges and a 16% increase for state police officers.

Additionally, the current iteration of the budget includes additional funding to the Tourism Department appropriated for marketing and advertising. $37 million in nonrecurring funding is budgeted for the Department of Transportation for road construction and maintenance.

The budget also includes increases for college tuition through increases to the Lottery and Opportunity Scholarships with $12 million in recurring expenditures and a $63 million in nonrecurring funding.

Representative Patty Lundstrom, chairwoman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, raised a number of concerns, including a lack of funding for rural health care.

The budget now heads to a conference committee between the Senate and House to work out the differences. The budget needs to be passed before the legislative session ends Thursday at noon.

For the New Mexico News Network, I’m Jason Espinoza

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