Monday, August 24, 2009

Governor Planning Three Percent Budget Cuts

As the New Mexico Independent has been reporting the State of New Mexico is facing budget shortfalls this year and so the Governor is planning a special session in Santa Fe. He wants lawmakers to reconcile the state mandated balanced budget.

Today, Governor Bill Richardson directed state agencies to identify an additional three percent of their current year operating budgets for potential reduction in the special session – on top of the cuts implemented in this year’s budget.

The budget cuts are part of the governor’s broader plan to balance the budget, which will be unveiled in early September and come just days after two other state's, Rhode Island and Missouri, unveiled their own budget cutting measures.

Richardson said he wants other branches of state government not under his direct control and other elected officials offices to present plans to cut budgets by up to 3 percent.

Richardson will present the budget-balancing plan to an executive-legislative working group that is being formed to negotiate ideas prior to a special session the Governor will probably call in October.

The Governor said his plan will not increase taxes and will not significantly impact services to the public:
We will all have to make additional sacrifices, but I believe we can close the existing budget gap in a fiscally responsible way, without increasing taxes. The purpose of submitting my plan is simply to start the discussion. Nothing is etched in stone. I welcome the Legislature’s input.
Five members of the executive branch were appointed by the Governor to the working group: Finance & Administration Secretary Katherine Miller, Taxation & Revenue Secretary Rick Homans, Deputy Chief of Staff Eric Witt, Deputy Chief of Staff Paul Ritzma and Deputy Secretary of Finance & Administration Dannette Burch.

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