Governor will call special session to address state’s budget woes

Gov. Susana Martinez said Thursday she will call the Legislature into special session to address the state’s falling revenues and budget shortfall.

Susana Martinez

Heath Haussamen / NMPolitics.net

Gov. Susana Martinez

Martinez said her staff “is talking with leaders in the House and Senate in hopes that all parties can be as prepared as possible so the session will be brief,” The Associated Press reported. “While the exact timing is uncertain, Martinez said it will likely happen in September.”

The state still has to figure out how to make up for money it spent last fiscal year that it didn’t have. The current estimate is that the state ended the fiscal year on June 30 about $150 million short, though the Legislative Finance Committee is expected to release a new estimate next week, The Associated Press reported.

This fiscal year’s shortfall is shaping up to be in the range of $300 million to $500 million. And the longer-term outlook, a recent legislative presentation states, is “gloomy.”

That’s largely because of sinking oil and gas revenues.

Martinez has already issued a directive to executive-branch agencies under her control to “immediately prepare for and begin reducing” general fund spending by “at least” 5 percent. Details on what will be cut haven’t been released. The governor also urged legislative, judicial, and executive agencies not under her control to do the same.

While the governor has urged a short, half-day session to approve a deal negotiated largely in secret, the N.M. Foundation for Open Government wants legislators to hold public budget discussions.

“The impact of the budget decision will be felt all over the state, and the public can’t be shut out of the process,” Gregory P. Williams, president of the foundation’s Board of Directors, has said.

“New Mexicans need to be able to participate, and not just read about the result in the newspaper,” Williams said.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from NMPolitics.net, and written by Heath Haussamen, NMPolitics.net. Read the original article here.