The Latest: New Mexico Senate approves spending increase

Feb 13, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on New Mexico Legislature's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year (all times local): 2:00 p.m. A proposal to boost New Mexico state spending on public schools, the criminal justice system, business incentives and Medicaid has been approved by the state Senate. The Senate voted 40-2 on Tuesday to approve a $6.3 billion general fund budget plan for the coming school year that would boost spending by $259 million for the coming fiscal year. The bill now returns to the House to consider recent amendments. Gov. Susana Martinez has the authority to veto any and all provisions of the final budget. The district attorney's office overseeing Albuquerque would receive a 16.5 percent operating budget increase, amid acute concerns about urban crime. The budget bill includes pay increases of at least 2 percent to all state workers and slightly more for public school teachers. Statewide elected officials including the governor, attorney general and secretary of state would earn 10 percent more beginning next year. State police, parole officers and prison guards would get a 8.5 percent pay boost. ___ noon The New Mexico Senate is debating a proposed $259 million increase in state spending aimed at public schools and law enforcement. The $6.3 billion general fund spending plan for the coming fiscal year reached the Senate floor on Tuesday for discussion and a possible vote. Recent amendments to the bill provide greater pay increases to state police, corrections officers and prosecutors, responding to pressure from GOP Gov. Susana Martinez. A rebound in the oil and natural gas sectors is providing a fiscal windfall to the state after two years of austere budgeting. Members of the Democrat-led Legislature have endorsed base-pay increases for teachers and state workers. More money would go toward district attorneys, a space launch facility, tourism promotion and business subsidies. Spending increases also are geared toward expanding preschool.