The Department of Finance and Administration reported Monday there's no reason to change the most recent revenue forecast calling for the state to have about $283 million available for budget increases and to offset any tax cuts in the next fiscal year.
However, legislative staff has raised questions about the state's financial outlook and the Senate Finance Committee plans to make its budget decisions using estimates that revenue will be $24 million lower next year and $41 million lower in the current fiscal year.
Can New Mexico’s $100 million solution to drought problems on the Pecos River provide the model for the much larger problems on the lower Rio Grande?And don't worry John, we all get lost. But Steve Terrell has a hint to get your bearings, at least on the 3rd floor.
The bill clarifies that the Public Education Department, as well as school districts and charter schools, cannot contract with private entities to run a public school or any of its programs.
Hammond charged that private educational institutions are finding ways to break through the system in a “Trojan horse” manner. “This bill says no more privatization Trojan horses in New Mexico,” he said.
Garcia, who taught political science and held top administrative positions, made headlines in June 2011 when he was arrested and when a police search of his UNM office turned up numerous sex toys, pornographic videos and sex books. He now needs written approval and must be escorted when he is on university grounds.
Democratic Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming cooked up the compromise, along with Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales, leader of the Senate Republicans.
"It's a start, and the thing of it is we've got plenty of time." Ingle said. "We've got another month to go before we get out of here. We've got time to pass this bill and we need to do it. We need to get the passport situation taken care of, so I think this bill can do that."
Ezzell, right, said jobs would be lost in southeastern New Mexico and the state’s overall economy would be damaged if the prairie chicken received federal protection.The debate included a representative saying if someone was observing his mating rituals, he would be disturbed, debate over who was the chair of the House redhead-caucus, criticism of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce and even a Representative clucking like a hen and crowing like a rooster. Sometimes the debate on the floor is weird.
Invoking the Endangered Species Act would stop voluntary efforts by private landowners to coexist with the bird, Ezzell said.
Senate Bill 93 — titled "City Water Storage Tank Contractors" — allows communities to hire a contractor to do the work over multiple years. This lowers maintenance costs for cities by spreading out payments over the course of the contract, much like making car payments.
Brian Daly, a district manager for city water provider EPCOR Water, noted that preliminary tests indicate EPCOR will be able to pump 10.4 million gallons of water per day. That’s down from 11.3 million gallons last year, and Daly said the number could drop more when farming and irrigation pick back up.
Combined, 2011 and 2012 were the driest and warmest two-year period in state history, noted Wayne Sleep, a snow survey hydrologic technician with the NRCS in New Mexico.
"The last two years were actually warmer and drier that the first couple of years of the 1950s drought," Sleep said. "The thing in the 50s that really made that notable was the length of time that it lasted. It went on for over four years. The timing now is going to be what drives this one in relation to the 50s."
Acting Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Church said his department's funds are limited in the number of new roads it can build or fix. He apologized to the delegation for the errors made in the $20 million reconstruction of Canal Street that was completed in 2011.
"We are embarrassed the way we did things," Church said. "We can't afford to fix everything, but are responsible financially for some of it."
At issue are curbs that were not built according to Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Wheelchair-bounds residents cannot cross the road at the intersections.
The city is moving forward with plans to allow beer to be served at Rodriguez Park complex during professional baseball games, carrying through with one of the prerequisites for getting the Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs to field a team in Las Vegas.