Tuesday, January 5, 2010

State job cuts and pay reductions on the table

While Governor Bill Richardson has already ordered 17,000 state workers to take five days of unpaid leave and indicated he would eliminate 1,000 jobs. Now the Legislative Finance Committee, which met on Monday, is suggessting state employees take a 2 percent pay cut to help save the state another $76 million dollars.

Most of the job cuts would come from vacant positions. Currently there are 4,000 unfilled positions.

Tripp Jennings, writing for the New Mexico Independent, reports the committee's $5.3 billion budget assumes $200 million in revenue enhancements, which include temporary tax and fee increases.

Additional savings could come from cutting medicaid and higher education, and by reducing dental and vision benefits for state workers.

Duke City sets legislative priorities

On Monday night, Albuquerque City Councilors finalized their legislative wish list.

Councilors want to make sure lawmakers to not repeal the "Hold Harmless" provision signed six years ago. That provision replaces revenue lost from the elimiation of gross receipts taxes on food sales and medical services.

City Council President Ken Sanchez says if the provision is repealed the city could take a $34 million hit, which is 7 percent of its operating budget.

Add that to the projected $19 million shortfall and Sanchez says Albuquerque would have to consider employee layoffs and cutting city services.

Dan McKay at the Albuquerque Journal reported councilors also want the legislature to continue to support film incentives and funding alcohol and drug treatment programs. They also want the legislature to give them more flexibility in how the city can use industrial revenue bonds, which provide tax breaks to companies for economic development.

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