If a new statement from Gov. Susana Martinez is any indication, policymakers who’ve been in a standoff over the state budget for months may have found a path forward.
“Overall, I’m pleased that we were able to come to an agreement on the budget,” Martinez said Thursday after the House and Senate sent her bills to restore the funding she vetoed in March for higher education and the Legislature and help fund the state budget.
Martinez got some of what she wanted — and she pointed it out.
“In a bipartisan manner, lawmakers passed my plan to put more funding toward cancer research and student financial aid, while at the same time forfeiting their pork projects and a small portion of their personal legislative retirement accounts to fill the budget hole — something I’ve urged them to do for months,” the governor said.
There are some things she’s not happy about.
“Just as with any legislative session, no one got everything they wanted,” Martinez said, adding that she’s disappointed in the tax increases on gasoline and internet sales the Legislature sent to her desk. She also wishes lawmakers had approved a complex proposal to reform the state’s gross receipts tax.
“Let me be clear: I will veto all tax increases that hit my desk,” Martinez said. “The legislative leadership knew that from the beginning and chose to pass these tax hikes regardless.”
In spite of the coming vetoes of the tax bills, Democratic leaders believe they found a way to keep the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 in the black by borrowing money.
That plan won’t leave any money in reserves and could affect the state’s bond rating.
Still, Martinez said, “our agreement shows a willingness to come together and compromise and do the work the people deserve.” She added that she hopes lawmakers will have the courage to “tackle the tougher challenges” in the future.
NMPolitics.net asked Martinez’s office if her statement means she will sign the legislation that reinstates higher education and legislative funding, but hasn’t received a response.