Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Governor Bill Richardson Pushes for Fiscally Responsible Rebates, Health Care Coverage for Kids Before Friday's Special Session.

Governor Bill Richardson announced today that he will move ahead with a fiscally responsible CARE package of tax rebates for New Mexico families to reflect an updated revenue picture for the state.

“The bottom line is the state still expects $225 million in extra money – money that should go back to New Mexico families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “I am confident we can put money in people’s pockets in a fiscally responsible way.”

Governor Richardson, working with legislative leaders, directed state economists representing the administration and the Legislature to prepare an updated consensus-revenue forecast this week to get a more accurate picture of the state’s economy before the special session that is scheduled to start on Friday.

Today’s forecast reduced the amount of new, one-time money available in the current FY 2009 budget year from $392 million to $225 million – reflecting lower oil and natural gas prices. That means $225 million will be on the table during the special session for one-time tax rebates and other relief for New Mexico families.

Governor Richardson is revamping his CARE package to reflect the new revenue figures. The new package will be presented to legislators before the special session starts on Friday.

Today’s revenue forecast also reduced the amount of new, on-going, or recurring, money that will be available starting July 2010. Economists agreed that the Governor and the Legislature can count on $351 million being available starting next year to pay for priorities like health care reform. Economists will meet two more times before the start of the 2009 legislative session.

Governor Richardson has proposed carving out $58 million from that $351 million in new, recurring money to pay for his health coverage plan, which includes an aggressive effort to cover all children under the age of 19.

Photo: MG Bralley

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