House panel sidelines lottery scholarship bill

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A House committee has sidelined a measure aimed at shoring up New Mexico’s struggling lottery scholarship program.

With just days remaining until adjournment, the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday pulled the brakes on a proposal that would have revamped the funding formula for the scholarship program.

The measure would have removed a requirement that the lottery authority funnel at least 30 percent of its monthly revenue to the scholarship program. Instead, it would have been required to provide at least $41 million a year for scholarships.

Critics were concerned that would limit the incentive to raise more money for scholarships, but higher education officials say without a fix there’s no doubt the program will be affected.

Current estimates show there could be a 30 percent drop in tuition assistance at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

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