Lawmakers tackle crime as New Mexico state finances improve

New Mexico lawmakers

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico lawmakers and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are preparing to boost spending on public schools, early childhood education and law enforcement as state government climbs out of a financial crisis.

Strategies for reducing property crime and violence in New Mexico’s largest city also are at the top of the agenda, as lawmakers convene Tuesday for a 30-day session.

New Mexico government income for the coming fiscal year is expected to surpass annual spending obligations by $199 million. The governor wants to raise an additional $99 million to bolster spending on education, prisons and business incentives.

Pay increases are slated for teachers, prosecutors, judges, corrections officers and state workers.

Martinez is pushing for tougher criminal penalties in her final year in office, while many lawmakers stress community policing initiatives.