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Morning Word: Budget Volatility Not New

August 29, 2016, 7:30 am
Budget Volatility Not New
As lawmakers consider options to reduce budget shortfalls, Dan Boyd reports that volatility in the state’s revenue stream isn’t new: In just the past 10 years, there have been three budget years–2009, 2010 and 2016–in which recurring revenue levels have fallen by more than 8 percent from the previous year’s levels. And the state ranked eighth nationally in tax revenue volatility over a recent 20-year period, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Advocates: Don’t Cut Pre-K Programs
If planned tax cuts aren’t frozen or delayed, the only other real option is to start cutting spending. That’s not something that child well-being experts want, especially now that pre-k programs appear to be boosting educational outcomes for low-income children. They say the program should continue to be funded.
While only about 18 percent of New Mexico’s low-income third-graders who weren’t enrolled in the tuition-free PreK program showed proficiency in math and English language skills on the inaugural PARCC exams, the report says, 24 percent of low-income PreK kids were proficient in math, and 22 percent were proficient in reading and writing. Testing results for third-graders of all income levels show former PreK students had a higher proficiency rate in math, at 27 percent, compared to 25 percent for non-PreK students. Both groups scored equally in reading, at 25 percent.
Lawsuit: State contractors ordered employees to commit fraud
A former New Mexico Works program employee’s new lawsuit accuses five former contract company managers with instructing her and other employees “to commit illegal and possibly fraudulent acts” processing TANF and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program applications.

Mourners Celebrate Martens' Birthday
Thousands of people gathered Sunday in an Albuquerque park to give Victoria Martens the big birthday celebration she wanted, while mourners try to make sense of 10-year-old’s brutal killing.

New Juried Process for Indian Market Artists
The Santa Fe New Mexican and Associated Press report artists who’ve earned tenure at Indian Market in Santa Fe will have to vie for a spot like everyone else starting next year. Organizers have decided they want everyone to compete through a juried process, which some contend could favor younger, more contemporary artists.

Quarterback Sparks Controversy
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit through the national anthem to protest police use of force and what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United getting mixed reactions from NFL fans around the country, with some people supporting his stands while others burn his jersey number in effigy.

Junior Chef Honored
Foodies will love this. A Las Cruces boy who invented a recipe for green chile cheese rolls and lime jicama fries, and won top prize in first lady Michelle Obama’s Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, was recognized for his culinary talents during a visit to the White House.


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