Governor, lawmakers strike deal on special session

The New Mexico State Capitol, known as 'The Roundhouse.'
The New Mexico State Capitol, known as 'The Roundhouse.'

SANTA FE (KRQE) –  After months of finger pointing and negotiating, the Governor, House leadership and Senate leadership have struck a deal for a special session.

Lawmakers are likely to meet on Monday for a one day session to sign off on an approximately $295 million public works package and a tax incentive package.

The original capital outlay bill, which would’ve funded projects across New Mexico, died in a late battle between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House over how those dollars should be spent.

Negotiations had stalled in the months since the session ended until a breakthrough late Wednesday afternoon.

As part of the deal, about $53 million in highway funding will be paid for half through bond funding and half through the general fund. Some of the tax incentives House leaders wanted passed will have sunset clauses. Projects the Senate wanted that were cut in the House version of the capital outlay bill are restored in the compromise version that was agreed to Wednesday.

“This is a compromise,” said Senate Finance chair John Arthur Smith, D-Deming. “We’ve met in the middle, and this agreement addresses important needs throughout the state and will be good for the people of New Mexico.”

“This bipartisan agreement will help create jobs in New Mexico,” said Governor Susana Martinez in a news release sen. “We are prioritizing highway construction and other major infrastructure, which puts people to work immediately and lays a strong foundation for long-term economic growth.”

Lawmakers are also expected to earmark an additional $300,000 for the Administrative Office of Courts and $4 million for the New Mexico Department of Health to help cover shortfalls.

The special session would be the first in New Mexico since 2011.

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