Governor Susana Martinez emphasizes policing, teachers in budget

Martinez presser

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is unveiling a $6.46 billion budget proposal that emphasizes increased spending on public education, law enforcement initiatives and economic development programs.

Martinez announced her budget recommendations Tuesday at Corrections Department offices in downtown Albuquerque. Legislators convene later this month to craft a state budget.

The Republican governor wants to increase spending by $282 million over last year. That represents a 3.7 percent expansion.

About $101 million in new spending would go toward efforts to improve public education. Base pay for public school teachers would rise by $2,000.

Pay raises also are planned for prison guards, probation and parole officers, state police and child abuse case workers.

New state expenses associated with the federal expansion of Medicaid would consume $69 million.

This statement was released from Joe Kabourek, executive director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico:

“While we appreciate the Governor’s new interest in core Democratic programs like early childhood education, this budget does nothing to address the real issues facing our state: We are last in job creation and first in poverty.

“What’s more, Gov. Martinez has said absolutely nothing about plans to address the rampant corruption and ethics violations that have plagued her Administration. Until we address the culture of corruption in the Martinez Administration, no budget proposal will be able to take us from the being the worst-run state in the country to being the thriving economy that New Mexicans deserve.

“Further, Gov. Martinez’s Administration has made mistake after mistake in dealing with the federal government and that is costing New Mexico taxpayers millions of dollars. Does the Governor’s budget include the $16 million the state owes the federal government for her Administration’s Medicaid errors? Does it include funding to address the alarming gap in special education funding?”

The House Majority released this on Tuesday:

“I am extremely pleased that Governor Martinez has made public safety a top priority. Her budget clearly demonstrates that she shares our goal of keeping our families safe from violent repeat offenders.” –Rep. Nate Gentry, House Majority Leader

“I share some of the same priorities that Governor Martinez outlined in her budget proposal. That includes responsibly funding initiatives that will protect our families and children, provide our students with the best education possible and give them the tools they need to learn. We should also continue to fund programs that will create jobs around the state. I look forward to further reviewing how we can do that in committee.” -Rep. Larry Larrañaga, Chair of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee

“Governor Martinez sent a clear message with her budget proposal. We need to invest in initiatives aimed at improving public safety, child well-being and education and I agree. All New Mexicans need to feel safe and our children deserve to receive a great education.” – Rep. Jimmie Hall, Vice Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee

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