NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A lot of state departments are asking for a lot more money as they put together their proposed budgets for next year. The Department of Public Safety is asking for enough money to cover a 9% pay increase for officers, an officer longevity pay plan and a pay increase for dispatchers and transportation inspectors.
They also want to fund what they call an enhanced recruit school and lateral recruit school. The New Mexico Department of Health which has been front and center during the pandemic is asking for nearly $54 million more. The extra money would focus on among other things like improving trauma services, epidemiology and lab services and oversight of medical facilities.
“For many years prior to 2019, the state of New Mexico cut back funding in public health, and did not substantially fund services for the elderly and for people with developmental disabilities. Under Governor Lujan Grisham, we’re changing that,” said DOH Acting Secretary David R. Scrase in a news release, M.D. “In addition, the maintenance and operations of state healthcare facilities has been chronically underfunded as well, and addressing this challenge is a key priority for DOH.”
It would also better fund programs that help the elderly and disabled and teen suicide prevention. Money is also earmarked to update technology that NMDOH uses. The Higher Education Department says its budget aims to expand access to free college including more money for the opportunity scholarship. Last year, it got $18 million, they are asking for $48 million.
“Our agency and Gov. Lujan Grisham are committed to ensuring that every higher education dollar is used to sustain and expand programs that provide all New Mexicans with the opportunity to earn an education for free and get the training necessary to support a healthy workforce and the state’s economy,” Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said in a news release. “We are dedicated to investing in free college in addition to supporting New Mexico’s teachers and programs that provide pathways to college and careers for adult learners, both of which are crucial to uplifting our citizens and state.”
The Economic Development Department has one of the biggest asks. It wants to double its staff which focuses on expanding economic opportunities and provides help to businesses saying this year has been one of the hardest it’s ever seen for businesses. While there are still federal economic stimulus funds remaining, many of these asks would continue year to year. The state did announce higher than expected budget revenue this year but as always it’s setting priorities for funding.