NM SENATE News:
SANTA FE—New Mexico’s Lottery Tuition Fund could be a little closer to getting its solvency issue resolved as Senate Bill 347 (SB 347) passed the Senate Finance Committee Monday.
The bill appropriates $11 million from the general fund for fiscal year 2014, appropriates $11.5 million in general fund revenues for fiscal year 2015, and in fiscal year 2016 creates a distribution from the general fund portion of revenues resulting from the liquor excise tax.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Bernalillo and Valencia, who sponsored the bill, was the lead sponsor of the original legislation and has continued to be a strong advocate of the Lottery Scholarship. He has said it’s one of his top priorities during the legislative session as it comes to a close later this week.
“Because of the decline in sales and the hike in university tuitions, funds are being depleted. It’s unfortunate that students who become eligible to receive the lottery scholarship may not be given the chance to get the assistance that they may need to continue or even begin their higher education,” Sanchez said. “This issue needs to be tackled and stabilized for the future of our students and New Mexico’s work force.”
Currently, about 14,000 New Mexico college students depend on the lottery scholarships and more than 80,000 have been recipients of the scholarship since the program started back in 1996.