Updated: Monday, 03 Jan 2011, 7:31 PM MST
Published : Monday, 03 Jan 2011, 6:18 PM MST
Just days into her new job Gov. Susana Martinez said she is ready to tackle the budget deficit and problem policies she says are plaguing small businesses.
In two weeks, Martinez will face her first legislative session, and it will not be easy. The state is looking at a projected $423 million deficit.
“We have to make decisions that are going to be long-term impactful,” Martinez said at a news conference Monday morning.
Martinez has said every agency and every department will need to work together to balance the budget. While she is sticking to her promise not to cut from the classrooms, she has said she is looking for the waste in the administrative divisions of the Public Education Department.
On top of balancing the state's budget, Martinez said she is awaiting a report from Lt. Gov. John Sanchez whose statewide tour to save small businesses has just wrapped up.
“One of the things has been certain, that the regulations are strangling our small businesses,” Martinez said.
Martinez was referring to the recently passed state cap-and-trade regulations. It affects dozens of large industrial businesses like oil and natural gas. Martinez said the regulations are killing jobs in New Mexico, and she wants them to be more business friendly.
“We are looking at what's the best way it could be sound and so that it cannot be reversed in any way,” Martinez said. “The jobs that have been lost in New Mexico and are in Texas now; we're coming back for our jobs.”
The tasks ahead will not be easy for Martinez, and no one knows that better than the man she's replacing, former Gov. Bill Richardson. Following tradition, Richardson left Martinez a letter filled with advice.
“One thing he said is to not take myself too seriously,” Martinez said. “However I think this is serious business.”
“He also said maybe I could stop referring to the past administration. I quickly put that in my purse.”
Martinez said she's even considering cutting some cabinet secretary positions.
“The federal government has 14 cabinet secretary positions," she said. "In the state of New Mexico we have 22; it has grown from 14 to 22.
“Is it necessary, and if it is not necessary, how do we collapse them?”
The Legislative Finance Committee will release its budget recommendations Friday. The 60-day legislative session starts Jan. 18.