FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday signed the $7.6 billion New Mexico state budget, providing essential new investments in cradle-to-career education, the economy and infrastructure and protecting public pensions, public health and public safety – all while setting a 25 percent General Fund reserve target, the highest in New Mexico history and among the highest in the country.
“This budget strikes an important balance – responsive and responsible, investing in the transformative changes that New Mexico needs while ensuring financial stability in the event of an economic downturn,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
The budget for the year beginning July 1, 2020, includes 4 percent pay raises for most state employees, including school personnel, and almost $58 million to support changes to the Public Employee Retirement Association to set it on a path to solvency, among other changes.
Spending will increase 7.5 percent overall, with more than 45 percent of all new recurring expenditures going toward the education continuum, from early childhood through higher education.
Other budget highlights include:
$15 million for projects funded through the Local Economic Development Act, with a focus on rural infrastructure and rural business
$19.9 million for services for individuals with developmental disabilities
$15.4 million for multi-agency behavioral health collaborative initiatives
Funding for 29 new positions in Child Protective Services, 39 new state police officers and seven new positions in the Department of Homeland Security
$405.4 million increase (all funds) for the state Medicaid budget (6.5 percent) to support projected enrollment growth
$5.1 million to detect, eliminate and litigate pre- and polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFAS) contamination.
The General Fund includes $180 million for project planning, design, construction and equipment for major road projects across the state, including statewide rest area improvements.
However, given the volatility in global oil markets and global economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the governor took a cautious approach to General Fund capital appropriations, vetoing some projects in a fiscally prudent move. These vetoes total $150 million in General Fund projects, money that now becomes available immediately to bolster state reserves.
The separate capital bill funds more than $422 million in essential infrastructure projects across New Mexico, including $132 million in state agency capital projects, $19 million for tribal projects, $84 million for local public safety projects, $82 million for water and wastewater projects, $25 million for higher education institutions, over $24 million for public schools, $12 million for road projects and over $10 million for acequias and ditches.