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Morning Word: Budget likely to go up next year thanks to revenues

Gov supports lottery scholarship fix and more NM news...

December 10, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
  • The state will have a lot more money in additional revenue for next year's budget.
    Economists for the Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration prepared the latest revenue projections, which call for the state to collect nearly $6.2 billion in the fiscal year that starts in July. That’s about $293 million higher than current spending.Which leads to...
  • This is pretty huge: Smith is one of the most fiscally conservative members of the state Senate -- Democratic or Republican. He also controls the powerful Senate Finance Commitee.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez wants to avoid any cuts to the lottery scholarship in the spring.
    The administration estimates there could be a shortfall of $15 million to $20 million.

    Garcia said the Legislature should plug this year's gap with money from the state's general budget account and revamp the program to keep it solvent in the future.
  • Some Eastern New Mexico legislators are wary of a "quick fix" to the lottery scholarship fund.
    One of those changes Roch is speaking of would be for schools to apply federal financial aid to students’ tuition costs before using lottery scholarship money.

    Eastern New Mexico University officials say one in five students of its 4,500-plus undergraduate population are lottery scholarship recipients. For Clovis Community College, 75 current students are accessing the scholarship, according to officials.
  • Martinez said she makes her own decisions when asked about a story by National Journal that said political adviser Jay McCleskey had too much influence on her office.
    Asked after a news conference Monday about whether she had become too insular or relied too much on advisers, the Republican governor and former longtime prosecutor bristled.

    “Mr. Yates doesn’t know me well enough to even begin to have an opinion on that,” the governor told reporters.
  • Not very many students in APS opted out of a state-mandated test.
  • New Mexico lost 24,000 jobs between April and October of this year. The culprit is likely the federal government shutdown.
  • The administration of Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque Police Officer's Association are close to an agreement on a contract.
    Negotiating teams for the administration and Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association reached a tentative agreement late last week on a proposal that will go to the union membership for ratification later this month. The city’s last union contract for police – negotiated when Martin Chávez was mayor – expired 2½ years ago.
  • APS and the Public Education Department are working to mend their relationship. KOAT says the break in relationship came from a controversial tweet by APS superintendent Winston Brooks -- but APS and the PED hadn't been on the same page for some time.
  • A trial over the "right to die" is scheduled to start on Wednesday in state district court. The ACLU of New Mexico is bringing the suit.
    A Santa Fe woman with advanced uterine cancer later joined two doctors in their legal challenge.

    According to the lawsuit, the New Mexico doctors are seeking to be allowed to prescribe medication to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.
  • The Albuquerque Police Department is considering putting detectives on the street because of the trouble keeping the proper amount of officers on the streets.
  • State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, highlights what he calls "four lies in one sentence" from Gov. Susana Martinez.
    If any single piece of it were true, Martinez would have a valid claim to have accomplished something important. But it is entirely fabricated, a PR illusion, a mirage—not a triumph. It is campaign puffery, nothing more. Let’s dig into each falsehood.
    Ortiz y Pino is one of the more progressive members of the state Senate and criticism of Martinez is not unusual for him.
  • Bill Richardson is making the media rounds; for one, he has a book out. And then North Korea is again doing newsworthy things which brings Richardson to the forefront for cable news networks.

    Steve Terrell points out that Richardson even spoke to Newsmax, an extremely conservative news organization.
  • The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange is launching a delayed marketing plan.
    The $6 to $7 million marketing campaign will include TV, radio, print ads and social media, said NMHIX Interim CEO Mike Nunez.

    The marketing campaign, which will run through the end of 2014, was delayed because the federal government’s insurance exchange for individuals, healthcare.gov, wasn’t working properly in its first two months and NMHIX officials didn’t want to steer people to a website that wasn’t operational, exchange officials have said.
  • A hearing in a water case designed to describe the process to the "mostly layman crowd" didn't go so well.
    Little progress was made at the hearing, however, which was dominated by questions from objectors about court procedure, legal terminology and larger questions about how the proposed water settlement would affect their water rights.

    The settlement has been in the works since 1969 and is meant to adjudicate the water rights of Taos Pueblo. Under the settlement, the Pueblo has agreed to not exercise the full right rights that it claims. In return, the town and other domestic water providers have agreed to reduce well pumping near the Pueblo, while building millions worth of infrastructure to ensure future water for all people in the area.
  • The Las Cruces Sun-News reports on the new computerized and more expensive GED.
  • The Navajo National Council held a special session to discuss funding of economic development projects.
    The only item listed on the proposed agenda is legislation to approve issuing a $220 million bond to fund economic development projects on the reservation.

    According to the bill, the bond would be divided into $100 million in the form of long-term fixed rate bonds and $120 million in the form of bank loans.
  • Interesting. From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan named Roberta Derlin, New Mexico State University's associate provost, to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.
  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Linda Lopez is expected to attend the Democratic Party of Otero County meeting tonight in Chaparral.
  • Facebook held a workshop for small business owners letting them know how they could use the social network to help their businesses.
  • This was going around Twitter today; a 1986 vote to override a Ronald Reagan veto of economic sanctions against South Africa for the apartheid government. In the Senate vote, both Republican Pete Domenici and Democrat Jeff Bingaman voted to override. In the House, Democrat Bill Richardson voted for an override while Republicans Joe Skeen and Manuel Lujan each voted against an override. The vote failed to get two-thirds of the vote in the House necessary for an override.
  • The state police officer who was fired after shooting at a minivan during a traffic stop will appeal his termination.
  • Gov. Martinez supports the officer's firing.
  • The village of Ruidoso will discuss a potential water rate increase.
  • Rio Rancho Public Schools will look at changing borders for the schools in the district. Rio Rancho's massive growth means frequent changes.
  • Don't put pizza boxes in your recycling bins.


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