Lawmakers weigh how to spend the remainder of federal COVID funding


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – This week, state lawmakers could put forward a proposal for how they will spend the rest of the federal COVID money. This week, the legislative finance committee is beginning the process of deciding how the money will be spent. That includes more than $2 billion in nonrecurring funds — a little less than half of that is from the American Rescue Plan.

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The state Supreme Court rules it was up to lawmakers to decide how to spend the money, not the governor. During a special session, they only spent a small portion of the COVID funding. “As we said in a special session, it wouldn’t make sense to even begin to even put a budget together. Those are short sessions. We need public input on this. We need to have more research done into some of these areas,” said Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-McKinley and San Juan counties).

This week, they are hearing from state agencies but there are already some priorities including funding the Lottery Scholarship 100%. Other priorities include electric vehicle charging stations across the state, more road projects and a hydrogen energy hub. Something the governor pitched as a transition fuel that will help meet the state’s emission reduction goals. The committee could introduce the bill by Saturday.

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