SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The $7.4 billion state budget is headed to the governor’s desk for approval. Just hours before the 60-day legislative session ends, lawmakers gave their final approval for the budget.
About half of it will go towards public education, including an additional $110-million to extend the school year by ten days and an extra $120-million for kindergarten to fifth-grade programs to add 25 extra school days to make up for lost learning time. Part of the budget is also increasing the governor’s Opportunity Scholarship, which helps provide funding for tuition at two-year universities, to $18-million. An additional $35-million will head towards addressing the needs of Native student’s education.
Lawmakers also appropriated about $1.6 billion from the federal American Rescue Plan to help with lost revenue and put about $600-million towards replenishing the state’s unemployment fund. Along with additional coronavirus relief plans, the state agreed to spend $400-million in one-time spending for economic recovery.
State legislators agreed with changes made in the budget with less than 24 hours to spare before the session concludes. Overall, the budget increases spending compared to FY 2021 by 4.9%, or $378-million. It will keep the state’s cash reserves at $1.7 billion, or about 24% of current spending.