Governor Lujan Grisham’s state budget plan was released yesterday and includes additional support for covid relief, but as usual, more state spending increases. The governor’s budget is a 3.3 percent increase from the current fiscal year ending June 30 and includes $475 million for additional pandemic relief for New Mexico residents and businesses. Contrary to many predictions, the state has emerged from the depths of the pandemic with more money than expected thanks to over $1 billion in federal stimulus funds from the CARES Act and a decent showing from oil and gas producers.
State agencies will see their budgets remain at current levels for the most part, with only a few agencies receiving additional funding. Those agencies include Department of Health and Human Services or the state Occupational Health and Safety Bureau as part of the state’s efforts to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic. State employees like teachers unfortunately will not be receiving across the board annual pay increases in the Governor’s proposal.
The overall budget outlook in Santa Fe is rosy this week despite businesses closing across the state and continually high unemployment. In a statement, Lujan Grisham also called her proposal a “fiscally responsible budget” that maintains essential funding for public education, innovative economic diversification and public safety, among other areas. The Governor’s proposal will be used along with a budget plan from the Legislative Finance Committee to create a budget bill to be passed during the session. Click HERE to read more.