Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gov. Signs Feeds Bill But Criticizes Legislature for Spending

Gov. Susana Martinez & Chief of Staff Keith GardnerGov. Susana Martinez signed the Feed Bill (HB 1), which funds this session of the Legislature. However, she criticized lawmakers for not reducing its spending.

Here's the executive message:

I have signed this funding bill to demonstrate my Administration’s desire to work in a cooperative fashion with the Legislature. However, I must point out my disappointment at the level of appropriations provided in this legislation. While I cut my office budget 10% and that of the Governor’s residence by 55%, I would have liked to have seen some additional fiscal restraint on the part of the Legislature.

As you know, for your legislative agencies there are no reductions in these appropriations from the current operating budget level. I do commend you for reducing the session expenses from the original request but even those expenses are $1.2 million higher than the actual expenditures reported for the last 60-day session. Further, this bill calls for $1.5 million in an additional general fund appropriation for expenditures relating to redistricting and we certainly look forward to seeing the Legislature’s detailed plans for use of this funding.

The FY12 budget we are working on together is a matter of making choices, very difficult choices. Many of our Executive agencies will be facing serious budget cuts, reorganizations and additional cost efficiencies. Therefore, I would ask that the Legislature make a concerted effort to pare back its spending during the remainder of FY11 and into FY12 to share in the sacrifices we are all going to have to make.
HB1 passed without opposition in both the House and Senate.

House Speaker Ben Lujan responded on the floor that a major factor in legislative expenses is printing. He pointed to one bill -- I'm not sure which -- saying it costs $11,000 to print the number of copies that are legally required.

Yikes! Seems that some diligent lawmaker out there introduce a bill to change that requirement and instead require electronic copies for legislators and others. (If there is a bill out there like that, please point it out to me.)