State Budget Passes Committee, Moves To Full Vote

Rep. Patricia Lundstrom

HOUSE DEMOCRAT News:

SANTA FE — The state budget House Bill 2 unanimously passed the House Appropriations and Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) Monday with bipartisan support.

The General Appropriations Act of 2021 is a reflection of the legislature’s priorities, making appropriations for economic relief programs and responsibly continuing the state’s investments in education, public safety, health, infrastructure, and long-term economic development. HB 2 appropriates $7.39 billion for Fiscal Year 2022, an increase of 4.6 percent or $332 million over FY 2021.

It puts the ending General Fund balance at $1.76 billion, a healthy 24 percent reserve. About half of the increase is replacing federal stimulus funds “swapped” in the FY 21 budget. 

“I am proud of the collaborative approach we have taken in forming this year’s budget, and even more proud of the resulting product,” Chair Lundstrom said. “We have all worked together and stayed focused on what the priorities are. Today, we have a responsible budget that puts New Mexico in a position of strength with the ability to invest in hardworking New Mexican families, local businesses, and our state’s future. We have avoided making cuts that would set New Mexico back, and instead are poised for a successful recovery.”   

Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) said, “This House budget reflects our priority to put the recovery of businesses, families, and hardworking New Mexicans first. We are doubling down on our investments in education, healthcare, and the economic opportunities to rebuild our state and reimagine our economy. New Mexico has every ingredient to be the next ‘it’ state, and this responsible budget is a continuation of those efforts.”

Economic Recovery

Due to the actions taken by the Legislature in the past two special sessions, and with the economy beginning to take an upturn in certain sectors, especially energy production, New Mexico has been able to play an active role in economic recovery. While other states are cutting services, New Mexico will continue its investments in education, public health, and economic development, and HB 2 includes $17.5 million for the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), and $7 million for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP).  

The General Fund Financial Summary includes one-time appropriations of $402 million for the economic relief measures contained in HB 11, SB 2, and SB 3 and an additional $325 million to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund. It also includes appropriations of $300 million for state and local roads and $30 million for broadband infrastructure.

Education

HB 2 also provides $110 million for extended learning as schools work to make up for lost instructional time. It adds $22 million to the recently established Early Childhood Education and Care Department to expand pre-k, home visits, and increase support for child care workers, and it provides $10 million to continue funding the Opportunity Scholarship and Lottery Scholarship which help New Mexicans pursue higher education. 

Health Care

HB 2 increases General Fund appropriations for Medicaid by $64 million, taking advantage of an enhanced federal match to cover more New Mexican families, and it increases the Department of Health budget by 3.4 percent. 

Having passed committee unanimously, HB 2 now moves to the House floor for a full vote. 

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings, and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.

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