NM SENATE News:
SANTA FE–A substitute bill for the General Appropriations Act (SB 313), which proposes a $6.2 billion budget package, was approved by the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) and is now on its way to the Senate Floor for debate.
The substitute bill was presented to SFC Sunday with an amended proposal of $17.5 million appropriated to the Department of Education for the Administration’s education reforms. The budget has an increase from last fiscal year of 5 percent in spending and a reserve of 8.7 percent.
The committee’s action to propose a budget is in response to the stalemate within the House that has left the Senate with no budget to debate, with only four more days to go in the session. Senators are hoping to avoid a possible special session.
The current impasse from the House stemmed from disagreement primarily over the proposed budget amounts for the governor’s school reform proposals. The Senate budget now offers a compromise by appropriating $17.5 million in special reform programs, but with detailed language that requires local districts to control the programs and apply voluntarily for the funds.