March 20, 2015

Budget heads to governor’s desk

“We need to produce a budget for the state of New Mexico. That’s one of our main jobs,” Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, said shortly before the House voted to send the state budget to the governor’s desk.

Money flyingThe House concurred with the changes made to House Bills 2 and 4, which make up the state budget, unanimously. The budget passed 67-0.

There was very little debate, only Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, and Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup, noting that a lot of the changes added by the Senate were part of the failed Democratic floor amendment.

“Certainly, I think the Senate took a lot of ideas from that floor amendment and I’m glad they did,” Egolf said shortly before the unanimous vote.

House Appropriations and Finance Chair Larry Larrañaga, R-Albuquerque, said that the budget reflected the work done by the committee.

“The amendments also added money to some areas that I thought were a good purpose,” Larrañaga said.

The budget starts in the House where it is crafted by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee before being sent to the Senate side. The Senate then adds their amendments to fill out the rest of the agreed-upon funds.

The budget originally passed the House after three hours of debate in late February. The budget then passed the Senate earlier this week after significantly less debate.

The budget now heads to Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk, where she has 20 days to decide which portions she agrees with and which portions she would like to line-item veto. The governor can line-item veto any appropriations.

It is very unlikely that the governor will veto the entire budget and force a special session.