Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has asked the legislature for $7.3B in recurring spending, a 3.3% increase over last year’s pre-pandemic budget.

“Amid great adversity, I recommend a fiscally responsible budget while maintaining essential funding for our public education moonshot, for the innovative economic diversification and opportunity New Mexicans expect, for the community, public safety, and much more,” said Lujan Grisham. “The pandemic and economic uncertainty may have disrupted our forward momentum in job creation, child wellbeing improvements, and various other policy emphasis areas, but we are ready to bounce back quickly and robustly. This budget recommendation is our first step to position New Mexico to prosper in a post-pandemic world.”

In a release and budget documents released today from the state’s Department of Finance and Administration, the administration is seeking to maintain the state’s robust 25% reserve, one of the largest in the country. A rebound of oil and gas prices helped to wipe out early projections of losses to the overall state budget.

According to the governor’s office, major priorities the governor will highlight in her budget proposal are:

  • $475M for additional pandemic relief for New Mexico.
  • $893.1M in total fund money for behavioral health support across all state agencies.
  • $193M for the continued rollout of early childhood education and care investments.
  • $5.1M for youth, adolescent, and young adult suicide prevention.
  • $151.2M to maintain K-5 Plus, Extended Learning Time (ELTP) & Career Technical Education and Community School Programs.
  • $26M to continue on the promise for tuition-free education at one of New Mexico’s public colleges, including $4M for a pilot program for students that lost the lottery scholarship.
  • $25M to restore and revitalize the tourism economy.
  • $10M from the General Fund for broadband expansion across New Mexico, which should be bolstered by significant funding from capital outlay.
  • $4.5M for investments in cybersecurity for state agencies and public education institutions.
  • $2M for innovative grid modernization projects.
  • $6M for the Secretary of State to fund local elections.

The legislature will meet for a 60-day session beginning next week. Legislative leadership traditionally introduces it’s own budget plan as well. Differences are ironed out in debates and hearings throughout the session.

The FY22 Executive Budget Recommendation is available for download at the Department of Finance and Administration’s website by clicking here.

This story is a staff report from The Paper.