New Mexico government’s fiscal outlook remains bleak, with the Legislative Finance Committee announcing Tuesday that state revenue streams declined during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
The general fund revenues fell to $1.3 billion during the quarter that ended Sept. 30, which is down 9.4 percent compared to the same three months in 2015, according to The Associated Press.
And the LFC wrote in its November newsletter that there was a 30 percent drop in general fund balances between October 2015 and October 2016. “On some days in both September in October, the balance fell below $1 billion to the lowest levels in recent history,” the newsletter states.
“We don’t know where the bottom is yet on the free fall that we’re in,” The Associated Press quoted Sen. John Arthur Smith, the LFC chairman, as saying.
Lawmakers met in October to plug a shortfall of several hundred million dollars in the current fiscal year budget and the previous year’s budget, largely with widespread cuts. But the state’s fiscal situation hasn’t improved since then. The state is operating with almost no reserves and its budget is dependent on fluctuating oil and gas prices.
The LFC also reported in its most recent newsletter that three key indicators had all fallen — projected employment growth, personal income growth, and gross state product, which is the state’s economic output.
Smith was quoted by The Associated Press as saying lawmakers may have to plug another budget hole when they convene in January for a 60-day session. Budget analysts plan to release updated revenue projections in the coming days.