April 9, 2015

Martinez approves budget

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Gov. Susana Martinez signed a $6.2 billion state budget into law on Thursday afternoon, with a 1.3 percent spending increase over the previous year’s budget.

Martinez praised the budget as responsible and one that invests in job growth.

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“By keeping our finances in order and ensuring that our budget grows in a stable and reasonable manner, we’re able to move New Mexico forward by growing our economy, keeping our families and children safe, and putting more dollars into the classroom than ever before,” Martinez said in a written statement.

In an executive message, Martinez lauded efforts by lawmakers to invest funds to help grow jobs in the private sector.

“These are critical dollars that will help us diversify our economy and decrease our reliance on federal spending, which has disproportionately hurt our state.”

The governor said she was happy to see many of the education reforms she pushed for funded through the budget.

“With respect to education, we continue to invest more in our public schools than ever before, with more money going directly into the classroom. But as I have said, money alone is not the answer. We must invest in reforms that work.”

The Children, Youth and Families Department and the Department of Public Safety were other areas Martinez said she was pleased to see received  more funding.

The message was not all praise, though. She listed a number of portions of the budget she did not agree with. She said she vetoed portions of the budget that “earmarked” funds and redirected them to other areas.

“Regardless of the form, these earmarks can be constitutionally objectionable, and they receive less scrutiny and vetting than the programs and expenditures that are made throughout the rest of the budget.”

Martinez added that she vetoed a proposed pay raise for state employees working in the healthcare industry. She said the three percent increase was hastily added without her recommendation and was not fiscally responsible.

“As I have advocated for years, I do believe in taking a targeted approach to raising salaries for state workers, focusing primarily on the State’s need for the positions and on the difficulty in recruiting eligible employees. However, these policies should be implemented in a planned and coordinated effort, not simply added to the budget at the last minute without debate and without prioritization.

Read the original message below.

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