The spending plan passed the
The budget bill, which will most likely be voted on by the full House later this week, would ramp up overall state spending by $684 million — or 10.8 percent — over current levels, with the state’s public school system receiving most of the increase.
Education spending would rise by $449 million — or 16 percent — over current levels, which would allow for teacher pay raises, expanded prekindergarten programs and more money for school districts with a high number of Native American students and English-language learners.
“They’re going to have to gear up — and that means hiring more teachers and finding more classroom space,” Lundstrom told reporters, referring to school districts statewide.
A state judge has given lawmakers an April deadline to come up with a compliance plan, and some advocates involved in the case have said the current budget plan doesn’t go far enough.
But teachers unions have praised the proposal, especially the proposed 6 percent pay raises for teachers and school administrators.
Charles Goodmacher, the government and media relations director for the National Education Association-New Mexico union, said the pay hikes would “persuade many teachers from leaving the profession and encourage possible new teachers and other school professionals to enter into service in our public schools.”
Meanwhile, Lundstrom said she was disappointed by the
“I’m not sure that all that money can be efficiently spent,” said Rep.
Lawmakers from both political parties have expressed caution about the state’s unprecedented revenue growth, which is primarily being driven by taxes and royalties associated with surging oil production levels in southeastern
Currently, about 45 cents out of every state dollar spent is now attributable to the state’s energy industry, according to key lawmakers.
Roads, film credits
While public school programs would get the biggest boost, the spending plan unveiled Monday would also authorize hefty one-time spending.
That includes roughly $300 million for statewide road construction and repairs, $14 million for a state “closing fund” intended to help lure out-of-state companies to
In addition, the budget plan would allow for $150 million to be spent to pay down a backlog of film tax credits under a high-profile incentive program.
“This is a fluid situation, and the governor’s priorities haven’t changed,” Stelnicki said.
Ups and downs
Over the past several years,
The state’s current cash-flush situation comes less than two years after lawmakers were forced to cut spending and take money from various state funds in response to a steep revenue downturn.
Given that backdrop,
Some Democratic lawmakers said Monday that the budget proposal would do just that, while still being fiscally responsible.
“I think this provides a balance and invests resources at a very critical time,” said Rep.
They also cited several measures pending at the Roundhouse that would enact new restrictions or requirements on the oil and natural gas industry.
“I don’t know why they would continue to do business in
If approved by the full House, the budget bill will advance to the
Both chambers must sign off on the same version of the bill before the 60-day session ends
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