May 26, 2017

Guv approves funding for higher-ed, Legislature

Matthew Reichbach

Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation that reinstates funding to the Legislature and higher education— two things she vetoed during the regular session.

Martinez also partially vetoed a bill that would have moved money from other funds into the state’s general fund. In her message, Martinez criticized the Legislature for taking money from fund balances “that do not exist.”

“We cannot balance a budget with funny money,” Martinez wrote.

Martinez  also vetoed a proposal to increase gas taxes and permits for gas haulers.

“I have said since my first day in office that New Mexicans are overtaxed and state government overspends.”

The Legislature is set to reconvene Tuesday to decide whether to override Martinez’s vetoes or adjourn until next year.

Democratic leaders criticized Martinez’s vetoes.

“The Governor’s decision to fund government with one-time borrowed money is fiscally irresponsible,” Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth said in a statement. “By vetoing all the recurring revenue, the Governor has created a structural deficit, further threatened our bond rating, and put school classrooms and critical state services at risk in future fiscal years.  This is not the way to run government.”

“Despite the success of the bipartisan budget, I am dismayed that commonsense legislation to create sustained revenue, and provide over $100 million in new money for Medicaid, as well as efforts to level the playing field for small businesses and hospitals will have to wait another year to become law,” House Speaker Brian Egolf said.

Both Democratic leaders are from Santa Fe.

Update: Added reactions from Wirth and Egolf.