SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico has billions in surplus funds to spend. And ahead of the legislative session starting next week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has released her recommendation on how use the cash in the state’s upcoming budget.
In a nearly 200 page document published Monday, the Governor is proposing a $9.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2024 (July 2023-June 2024.) If enacted as outline, the Governor’s budget would represent a nearly 12% increase in spending compared to the year prior.
With continued extraction of the state’s oil and gas resources, New Mexico is looking at over $3 billion in “new” money to spend, on top of the money it usually has. Along with another round of potential tax rebates for New Mexicans, the Governor’s budget recommendation includes tens of millions of dollars for housing, hundreds of millions for healthcare, hundreds of millions for education, and over $100 million for law enforcement.
“Today, we have a historic opportunity for change in the state of New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said in a press release. “This budget builds upon the immense progress and success of the last four years, continuing to improve the lives of the people of New Mexico by funding programs, policies and initiatives that we know are working. It also empowers the state to continue to take on new and innovative strategies that are disrupting the status quo, that help our children, our families, our schools, our small businesses and our entire economy to grow and prosper.”
Some of the notable proposals include a continued expansion of raises and benefits for educators. The Governor is proposing fully subsidized health care benefits for educators and a 4% raise for all school staff. Another proposal calls for $30 million to eliminate school meal costs for every New Mexico child.
“Children can’t learn when they are hungry,” Governor Lujan Grisham wrote in her budget proposal. “This will reduce hunger, improve academic performance and build on the progress New Mexico has made as a national leader in providing healthy meals to our children.”
In health care, the Governor is proposing a $200 million investment aimed at easting “the start-up and operational burden for rural health care services.” Another $10 million has been outlined for a “full-spectrum” reproductive health clinic in southern New Mexico, a promise the Governor pledged in August.
The Governor is also highlighting proposals to continue funding public safety projects, including a proposed $100 million for law enforcement recruitment fund. In 2022, lawmakers approved $50 million dollars for a recruitment and training fund. That money has since been dispersed in two rounds.
On the housing front, the Governor’s proposal calls for the creation of a new “Landlord Support Program” to “work directly with landlords to encourage them to use housing vouchers.” Another proposal aims to create “Mobile Homelessness Response Teams” that would deploy to homeless encampments to “connect individuals quickly and directly” with support services.
On top of funding statewide programs, the budget recommends giving all state employees a 4% raise, which would cost the state roughly $91.3 million. The Governor also says she will “again push for robust economic relief payments to New Mexico taxpayers” for a second year in a row, this round worth $750 for single filers and $1,500 for joint filers. In 2022, most New Mexicans received three payments total, worth either $250 or $500 per payment.
Some top-line spending includes:
Housing and Homelessness
- $25M for rental assistance and eviction prevention
- $13M to incentivize development and zoning updates
- $10M for the state’s Home Ownership Down Payment Assistance Program
- $6M for a new comprehensive landlord support program
- $4M for mobile homelessness response teams at the Department of Health
Health Care & Behavioral Health
- $200M to establish the Rural Health Care Delivery Fund
- $28M for the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program
- $10M for the New Mexicare senior caregiver support program
- $10M for a full-spectrum reproductive health clinic in southern New Mexico
- $5M for additional support for alcohol abuse prevention and treatment
- $32.5M for graduate medical education programs across the state
- $7.7M for nursing programs at New Mexico’s higher education institutions
- $5.8M to maintain existing school-based health centers and expand access to more than 25,000 students
Education and Child Wellbeing
- $220.1M for extended in-classroom learning time
- $30M to provide healthy universal school meals
- $2.9M to the Children, Youth and Families Department for 60 new protective services staff, to be supported by additional federal matching funds
- $277.3M for continued investments in affordable, high-quality childcare
- $131M to maintain and expand access to high-quality pre-k education
- $40.4M for the continued expansion of early childhood home visiting
- $111.1M to provide a four percent salary increase for all school personnel
- $100M for health care premium costs for public school personnel
- $157.4M for the Opportunity Scholarship
- $100M for continued law enforcement recruitment funding
- $4M for Law Enforcement Survivors Benefits
- $4M for Firefighter Survivors Benefits
- $2.2M to create two hotshot forest fire crews
Economic Development & Infrastructure
- $1B in economic relief through tax rebates
- $128M for water infrastructure improvements
- $146M for continued statewide broadband expansion
- $35M for Local Economic Development Act funding
- $75M for the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund