Monday, January 12, 2009


Gov. Bill Richardson at a press conference just declared the theme of the Legislature to be "The Year of Fiscal Restraint."

One of his proposals is to -- temporarily -- increase class sizes in public schools. It's not clear just how much. DFA Secretary Katherine Miller said the proposal is to eliminate the cap of 165 students per teacher in high school and middle school. Sounds like it could get crowded.

He also said under his plan the state would deauthorize funds for "stalled" capital outlay projects, for a savings of $263 million. We're not sure which projects they're talking about, but Miller said the list wasn't ready yet.

But the BIG news is that the beard is back! Currently it's only stubble, but that's how these things start. I asked him at the end of the conference, and he replied with a resounding "Yes!" (Hopefully I'll have a photo to post soon.)

Here's the official news release about the budget:

SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson today outlined a fiscally
responsible plan to cut spending, save money and improve tax collections by nearly half a billion dollars to prevent a budget

“Because we have been fiscally responsible by expanding our economy and saving money during the good times, we are well positioned to deal with this worldwide financial crisis,” Governor Richardson said. “Rather than irresponsible, across-the-board budget cuts that would slash services, we have targeted our efforts in a smart and strategic way.

“My budget plan does not increase taxes; leaves essential services for New Mexicans intact; and keeps substantial and responsible cash reserves to protect us against further shortfalls,” Governor Richardson said.

Governor Richardson is proposing budget cuts and improved tax collections totaling $498 million for the current 2009 budget year, which ends in June 2009.

That plan includes:
Targeted Cuts to Agencies: $108 million
Increased Tax Collections: $79 million
De-authorize capital outlay projects: $263 million
Other one-time cuts: $48 million

Governor Richardson is proposing budget cuts, new savings, improved tax collections and money from cash reserves totaling $455 million for the 2010 budget year that begins July 2009.

That plan includes:
Targeted Cuts to Agencies: $290 million
Increased Tax Collections: $34 million

GSD and DoIT savings: $12 million
Cash from reserves: $119 million