House Democrats: House Passes Bipartisan Budget


Today, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed HB 2, the General Appropriations Act, with a vote of 52-17, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for the proposed state budget. This proposal for fiscal year 2024 totals $9.44 billion, up 12% from last year, while maintaining a robust 30% reserve. 

“Over the last several months, our Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) has been hard at work listening to folks in every corner of our state to understand their areas of greatest need,” said House Appropriations and Finance Committee (HAFC) ChairRepresentative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces). “Our House budget builds on the LFC’s important framework to make responsible investments that will pay off for New Mexicans now, and for generations to come, while also maintaining robust reserves.”

HB 2 includes transformational investments in health care and housing, community safety, education and child well-being, climate, infrastructure, and economic development. 

“Our budget leverages historic revenues to make responsible investments that reflect our values, help working families across our state today, and plant seeds for generational change,” said HAFC Vice Chair Representative Meredith Dixon (D-Albuquerque). “We are maintaining robust reserves and making strong deposits in long-term savings like the Severance Tax Permanent Fund that will help New Mexico remain resilient through economic ups and downs.”

A detailed breakout of key investments in the budget is included below:


The budget prioritizes continued support for New Mexico’s schools, students, and teachers, including a 8.6% funding increase for public schools. Much of this is focused on initiatives to improve the quality of instruction for our students, with:

  • $13.5 million for early literacy interventions 
  • $32 million for at-risk student services
  • $15 million for educational assessments
  • $40 million for career technical education programs for students
  • $300 million for extended learning, including embedded professional work time for teachers

It provides strong support for educators to help recruit and retain quality teachers, including: 

  • 5% pay raises for teachers
  • $14 million for educational assistant pay raises, with a new minimum salary of $25,000
  • 1% pension contribution increase for educators
  • A boost to the state-paid share of health insurance coverage for all school employees 
  • $17 million for educator residency programs

Additionally, the budget increases higher education funds by $80 million or 7.8%, with: 

  • Increased funding for student support services
  • $17.6 million for research and public service projects
  • $10 million dedicated to education programs for future health providers
  • $119 million for the Opportunity Scholarship, up $12 million from last year, with $45 million in recurring appropriations to keep the program running in the years ahead 

Incentives are provided for those pursuing careers in some of the state’s greatest areas of need: 

  • $20 million in financial aid for Master’s level social work students
  • $10 million in scholarships to advanced-level students in STEM fields
  • $10 million in student loan repayment for medical professionals 

It also allocates $40 million to match funds for federal grants, $20 million for higher education building renewal and replacement, and $2.5 million for Native American studies programming. 

Funding for our youngest New Mexicans is also significantly greater, with appropriations to the Early Childhood and Education Care Department up $135 million, a 69% increase. The total $292 million will expand pre-K, home visiting, childcare assistance, and physical, mental, and behavioral health services, as well as funding tribal early childhood grants, school-based health centers, and rate increases for childcare providers. 

Behavioral Health & Child Well-Being

The House FY24 budget contains the largest investment in New Mexico’s behavioral health services in recent history, totaling $164 million to the Department of Health (DOH), the Human Services Department (HSD), the Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD), the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD), and other agencies. 

Specifically, the budget expands support for behavioral health clinics and child services, drug and alcohol-exposed newborns, medication-assisted treatment, maternal and child health services, youth treatment, and applied behavioral health services for children with autism.

Substantial funding is dedicated to CYFD, including $7.6 million dedicated to evidence-based, nationally-recognized child welfare programs. It also supports workforce investments at the Department, such as appropriate salary adjustments for front-line workers, the addition of at least 50 new full-time social workers, and enhanced recruitment and retention plans. 

HB 2 also allocates $7.5 million to improve kitchen equipment, meal quality, and food waste reduction within the Public Education Department, as well as other food security programs. 

Health Care & Housing

HB 2 prioritizes investments in health care access and health care professionals. It proposes a 18% increase in Medicaid funding, totaling $218 million, and $92.8 million toward rural hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. It also allocates $10 million to the Health Care Affordability Fund, focused on reducing health care costs for working families in New Mexico. 

FY24 appropriations to the Department of Health will continue funding current programs for the developmentally disabled, and provide a more than 10% increase, totaling over $83 million, in rate reimbursements to promote the recruitment and retention of health care providers. 

Nearly $38 million is allotted for new housing, with $3 million for the Linkages program at the Behavioral Health Services Division, which provides rental assistance for individuals with mental illness who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. 

Additional funds to assist with housing and homelessness include: 

  • $10 million for local government grants to assist with housing infrastructure
  • $2.5 million for housing and supports for people leaving incarceration
  • $2.5 million for a comprehensive landlord support program
  • $1 million for rental assistance and eviction prevention

Community Safety
To ensure the safety of communities across New Mexico, the budget funds a set of smart, comprehensive solutions that provide our police with the resources they need today, while investing in proven programs to deter future crime by tackling its root causes. 

HB 2 dedicates $78.7 million to community safety, including:  

  • $32.5 million for law enforcement recruitment and retention
  • $7 million for felony warrant enforcement
  • $4 million for attorney recruitment and retention
  • $17.8 million for criminal justice and intelligence-led policing systems at DPS
  • $5.5 for the continuation of Crime Reduction Grant Acts 
  • $6 million for judicial clerkships, universal screening, and improvements to treatment courts and pretrial services

It also includes a nearly $34 million increase for key justice and public safety agencies, including: 

  • $11.6 million increase for courts 
  • $9.1 million in pay increases for judges, state police, dispatchers, and other personnel 
  • $1.7 million increase for victim services and advocates
  • An additional $950,000 in funding to the Crime Victims Reparation Commission

Also included are: 

  • $22 million for the Corrections Department
  • $12.8 million for the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • $20 million for state prisons maintenance
  • $7 million for state police vehicles
  • $20 million for district court construction & renovations 

Climate & Environment

New Mexico’s environment is also a top budget priority for FY24, with $337.5 million total investments in conservation, climate, and other environmental protections. 

HB 2 strategically invests in every division at the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, enabling the agency to make impacts across the landscape and implement the Water Data Act. The 14.7% increase includes: 

  • $10.9 million for State Park improvement
  • $8.8 million in expanded enforcement of Oil & Gas regulations
  • $6.6 million for the State Forestry Division to continue to operate “hot shot” crews to fight wildfires

The 11.2% increase to the Environment Department, includes:  

  • $5.9 million for the Water Protection Division
  • $2.5 million for resource protection
  • $9.2 million for environmental protection
  • $15 million for the Eastern NM Rural Water System
  • $5 million to provide gap funding for water projects in small communities
  • $3.5 million to advance water reuse

The 7.2% increase for the Office of the State Engineer totals $105.2 million, including:

  • $900,000 increase in the Interstate Stream Commission 
  • $1 million for expansion of Water Resource Allocation, Litigation and Adjudication 
  • $65 million for Lower Rio Grande projects to promote settlement of Texas v. New Mexico
  • $20 million for federally-authorized projects in the Middle Rio Grande
  • $7.5 million for the Strategic Water Reserve

The budget also includes smart investments that will use the current surplus to generate future recurring revenue. $100 million will go to establishing the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund – a new permanent fund for land and water conservation, and dedicates substantial funding to 10 existing, but previously unfunded or chronically underfunded programs, including Outdoor Recreation, the River Stewardship Program, and the Wildlife Conservation Fund. HB 2 also allocates $40 million for recreation centers across the state. 

The budget’s environmental investments will also bring in millions of additional federal dollars through fund matching. 

Infrastructure & Broadband
HB 2 appropriates $1.5 billion for infrastructure projects and maintenance within the Department of Transportation. This includes $249 million in special transportation appropriations and additional funding for improvements to state roads, airports, and ports of entry statewide. 

Another $25 million will go to the Office of Broadband Access and Expansion for operations, grants, and mapping analytics, while $4 million will go to the Department of Information Technology for cybersecurity at state agencies, public schools, and higher education institutions.


The budget fully funds the Veterans Services Department’s FY24 budget request with an overall increase of $1.4 million, a 12% increase. This will help fill five vacant veterans services officers, provide $85,000 to expand veteran transportation services statewide and $100,000 for honor guard services. There’s also a $250,000 special appropriation to the Department of Health to purchase two vans for veterans’ home residents.

The budget also contains a 13% increase for the Department of Military Affairs, for a total of 8.9 million. 

Economic Development 

Economic diversification remains a top priority in this year’s budget, with a $1.97 million or 11.3% increase in funding to the Economic Development Department. This includes:

  • $50 million for public-private partnerships focused on energy-related projects
  • $2.2 million for business incubators and entrepreneur support
  • $2 million for creative industries
  • $500,000 to manage the film academy
  • $15 million for the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) 
  • $3 million for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP)
  • $1 million for outdoor equity grants
  • $10 million for trails infrastructure grants
  • $15 million for the Venture Capital Fund
  • $10 million for local Main Street projects

An additional $2.2 million, or 11.1%, is also dedicated to the New Mexico Tourism Department to fill unfunded positions, a national marketing campaign, and local tourism development. 

All state employees will also receive an average 5% pay increase.

Finally, the budget transfers $850 million to the Severance Tax Permanent Fund, which saves and invests the severance taxes not being used in order to repay capital outlay projects bonds.