--2 IN SESSION: House sends budget to governor
Sept. 24, 2017

IN SESSION: House sends budget to governor

Compromise budget passes with bipartisan support

February 19, 2014, 4:30 pm
By Matthew Reichbach
A state budget with $6.2 billion in appropriations is on its way to the governor's desk following an affirmative vote in the House of Representatives this afternoon. 

The governor now has 20 days to decide what portions to line-item veto or, less likely, if she will veto the entire bill.

The bill, which earned Senate approval earlier in the week, passed the House on a 58-8 vote. The House had previously deadlocked on its budget bill, stalling the budget and in many ways stalling the legislative session as a whole.

Rep. Larry Larranaga, R-Albuquerque, voted for bill, but said he was concerned about the state of reserves that have been dropping every year.

"We have nothing left for job initiatives or anything like that," Larranaga said.

Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, was the lone Democrat to vote against the legislation

"Thank you," Jeff said. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart that this is a compromise bill."

Rep. Kiki Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, emphasized that the bill was based on the original House version.

"The Senate started this bill by taking our work on HB 2 and modifying it to forge a budget compromise," Saavedra said.

House Minority Leader Don Bratton, R-Hobbs, who voted against the bill, said he was concerned what would happen if commodity prices fell, noting that if this happens the legislature would need to come back for a special session to address the budget shortfall.

"There is something in this budget for everyone and I hope that the governor will understand why we went to the extent that we did," said Rep. Lucky Varela, D-Santa Fe, the vice chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee and one of the most influential voices in the House on the budget.

The bill included a 0.275 percent "sand" -- which means the budget for all agencies was cut by that amount across the board as a way to help fund education initiatives.

The initiatives pushed by the Public Education Department were the main reason why the budget previously failed in the House. This time, they were not even mentioned in the relatively short debate on the budget.

This was the final budget with Saavedra as head of the HAFC.

"I want to thank all of you for your hard work," said Saavedra, who is retiring after this session.

He joked that the legislature is like communism.

"We work 15 hours a day and the others work three and we get paid the same," Saavedra joked.

Lawmakers gave him a standing ovation in both that committee and on the House floor when the budget passed.


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