Governor Signs $6.235 Billion State Budget
ALBUQUERQUE — Gov. Susana Martinez signed New Mexico’s Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget Thursday, which prioritizes job creation, continuing education reform, and improvements to public safety.
As signed, the $6.235 billion budget increases state spending by 1.3 percent over the current fiscal year.
“This is a responsible budget that invests heavily in creating jobs and educating our children,” Martinez said. “By keeping our finances in order and ensuring that our budget grows in a stable and reasonable manner, we’re able to move New Mexico forward by growing our economy, keeping our families and children safe, and putting more dollars into the classroom than ever before.”
The Fiscal Year 2016 budget invests an additional $37.5 million into New Mexico’s closing fund, which is used to grow New Mexico businesses and attract new companies from other states and countries.
The budget also puts more than $7.5 million ($5.5 million nonrecurring to address the backlog, $2 million recurring) into the successful Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP), helping businesses hire new workers. There are additional increases in funding to bring more businesses to MainStreet communities around the state, and in innovation-related programs like the Technology Research Collaborative and the newly-reformed Higher Education Endowment Fund.
The budget increases public education spending by $36.6 million for a total of $2.752 billion.
The education spending portion of the budget includes funding for a second year of a controversial pilot program that allows some of New Mexico’s teachers that are assessed as being” highest performing” to receive additional pay, increasing starting teacher salaries by another $2,000 per year. In addition a provision was passed which funds providing teachers with a pre-loaded debit card to help with the purchase of classroom supplies.
In addition, it also provides substantial funding for early reading initiative, expands Pre-K and K-3 Plus, establishes a new mentorship program for teachers modeled after a successful program for principals, and contains new funding to combat truancy problems in areas where the need is greatest.
This year’s budget also includes a nearly $7 million increase for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to improve officer recruitment, training, and compensation, as well as to fill more forensic scientist positions.
It also increases funding for the Crime Victims Reparations Commission, to enhance valuable services to victims of certain violent crimes such as child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes.
The budget also increases funding for the Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) by more than $8 million, resulting in the largest budget ever for the agency. This includes funding for critical reforms like child advocacy centers that put police and child abuse investigators under the same roof with safe house interviewers and other social support organizations.
It also funds family support workers who regularly check in with families that have frequent interactions with CYFD – to get them the help they need before tragedy strikes. Additionally, CYFD will now have the capability to share information with police officers who are called to child abuse incidents, so that they will know ahead of time whether the family has a history of abuse and violence in the home.
To read the Governor’s lengthier executive message which includes line item vetoes on the signing of the budget, click here.