I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Martinez budget proposal cuts 3 percent
Susana Martinez says her budget proposal, released Tuesday, will cut state spending by three percent and won’t raise taxes. The proposal is based on estimates from December 2010 that the state’s revenues will increase 4.4 percent from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012.
Martinez’s budget plan would cut administrative costs from education, roll back the film subsidy program put into place by Gov. Bill Richardson and sizably cut the state environment department.
According to the Associated Press, Martinez’s budget would call for many state workers to put more of their paycheck towards the pension fund, with the state kicking in less.
Like the legislative panel, Martinez gained much of her proposed savings by requiring state workers and some educational employees to pay an additional 2 percent of their salaries for their pensions. The state would reduce its pension payments by a similar amount, saving about $39 million next year.
Martinez would apply the pension shift to public employees except teachers and educational assistants. She said that would help protect those who provide classroom instruction for students.
A worker earning about $43,000 a year would see an estimated $32 drop in each paycheck because of the higher pension payments, according to the administration.
One of the big differences between Martinez’s budget plan and the plan put forward by the Legislative Finance Committee deals with the state corrections agency. While the LFC suggested cutting the budget by $11 million, Martinez said this would result in the “early release of prisoners” and chose not to cut the corrections budget as dramatically as the LFC proposed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican said that powerful legislator Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe, said the legislator needed to “look at the revenue side” and tax increases. Martinez made a campaign promise not to raise taxes.
Martinez had also supported more money for the state auditor. However, her budget shows a decrease in that office’s budget. The proposed budget cuts 8.8 percent fro the state auditor’s budget from total funds and 0.9 percent in general funds.
Martinez’s budget also includes 1.5 percent cut to education, which she said said during a press conference would come from “the bureaucracy.”
The state legislature will begin working on a budget when the 2011 session begins on Tuesday.