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The Latest: New Mexico Senate endorses spending boost

Mar 13, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on state budget negotiations in the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):5:30 p.m.The state Senate has approved a $700 million increase in annual general fund spending devoted mostly to public education.The Democrat-led Senate voted 39-2 Wednesday on the $7 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1. The bill now returns to the House to consider scores of Senate amendments.The budget bill is a crucial component of efforts to address a court order to increase resources for a troubled public education system. A district court judge says public schools across the state fail to provide an adequate education for low-income and minority students.New Mexico is appropriating money linked to a financial windfall linked to record-breaking oil production in the Permian Basin. Senate Finance Committee John Arthur Smith urged on the oil industry with the cry of "drill baby drill."___2:20 p.m.New Mexico legislators are coming close to an annual budget agreement that increases spending on education by nearly a half-billion dollars and channels a windfall in tax income toward infrastructure and economic stimulus.The state Senate was poised to vote Wednesday on a general fund budget bill that increases spending by just over $700 million or 11 percent to $7 billion. Spending on public education would increase by $448 million to $3.2 billion as the state grapples with a court order to improve schooling for poor, minority students.Disagreements have emerged between the House and Senate about the distribution of teacher pay raises. A separate Senate bill would provide $858 million in surplus general funds on state and local infrastructure projects, from roads to rooftop solar and high-speed internet.