New Mexico judiciary grapples with reduced budget

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court says furloughs may be in store for employees of the state’s highest court and appellate courts because of recent budget cuts to the judiciary.

Justice Charles Daniels told state lawmakers Tuesday that the courts are rationing office supplies and will resort to furloughs if a request for supplemental money is rejected.

New Mexico is reducing judiciary spending by 3 percent this fiscal year to close a major budget deficit. Administrative Office of the Courts Director Artie Pepin says furloughs can be avoided with a $150,000 appropriation by the state Board of Finance or the Legislature.

The judiciary is saving $400,000 this fiscal year by paying a lower mileage reimbursement rate for travel by judges, court staff, jurors, interpreters and court-ordered witnesses.

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