The state Senate unanimously passed Tuesday a $5.9 billion budget that must now go to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
However, House Minority Whip Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, said in a statement the House Minority Caucus will not concur on the Senate budget “because it is seriously flawed.”
The House passed its version of the budget in February, which Gentry said included provisions intended to improve the state’s education system, increase economic development and enhance public safety.
However, he said, the Senate’s version cuts education funding and fails to provide funding for programs such as the 11th Grade Assessment/Science Retest and Reads-to-Lead, “one of the most important reform initiatives in the budget.”
“Unfortunately, the Senate has decided to play political games with what would, undoubtedly, be an improvement to our education system,” Gentry said, adding that the Senate budget’s funding for the Job Training Incentive Program and the Local Economic Development Act also is too low.
“This is unacceptable, particularly given that the Legislature has yet to produce a tax package that actually helps level the playing field so New Mexico can compete for jobs with our neighboring states,” he said.
The budget also fails to appropriate necessary public safety funding, he said, providing the New Mexico Corrections Department less than half of its requested amount.
“In its current state, we cannot support this budget,” he said. “New Mexicans deserve better, and we are committed to improving our education system, growing economic development and increasing public safety—for the children and families of our great state.”