State budget battle continues on House floor

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The budget is being debated Wednesday at the Roundhouse but not without House Republicans trying a last-ditch effort to control spending.

House Republicans released a budget proposal Wednesday afternoon that would keep the budget at the same amount as last year, which is about $500 million less than this year’s proposed budget. They wanted to give each adult New Mexican $200.

“I think concerned is too soft of a word. Terrified of the spending levels that are being proposed, greater than Governor Bill Richardson’s level of spending that is being proposed in this budget… and we know that’s not sustainable,” said Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho.

The biggest chunk of the $7.6 billion budget would go toward public education including a 5% pay raise for teachers who got a 6% pay hike last year. It would also allocate $300 million for the governor’s early childhood trust fund and $250 million would be for a one-time spend on state road construction.

“I’m very proud of this budget, I think it represents what the people expect us to do in Santa Fe and the one thing we have to do in the 30-day session and that’s to prepare and execute a budget,” said Rep. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup.

Both budgets agree to give teachers a 5% pay raise but with the Democrats outnumbering Republicans.

The $7.6 billion budget is expected to pass.

The budget bill will still have to pass the Senate. It is currently the halfway point of the session which means there are 15 days left to get it done.

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