Uploaded by KRWGnews on Jan 17, 2012. 01.18.12 (SANTA FE) — The New Mexico legislature is back at work and for the thirty day session, lawmakers plan to focus on education, job growth and the controversial law on driver’s licenses.
During her second state-of-the-state address, Governor Susana Martinez announced New Mexico is no longer running on a budget deficit.
“We eliminated the chefs from the governor’s residence, we cut salaries there by 55 percent, I kept my promise to get rid of the ultimate symbol of waste and access, we sold the state’s luxury jet,” she said.
By eliminating non-essential state cars, cell phones, and cutting her cabinet’s salaries by ten percent, lawmakers balanced the budget turning the historic deficit into a projected $250 million dollar surplus.
“I’m proud at that fact that we were able to work together, the legislature and the governor, Democrats, Republicans, we came together and found a better way. We protected classroom spending and Medicare and we did not raise taxes,” said Martinez.
This year’s budget focuses on helping small business grow and on medicade, which the governor proposes to invest $45 million dollars.
“Providing healthcare for the poor and the disabled. Federal medicare cuts are threatening to close nursing homes leaving patients, parents and grandparents with no where to go. We promise to be there and that’s why budget includes 8 million dollars to keep that promise and keep those nursing homes open,” she said.
The governor says half of the new spending which is roughly $97 million dollars is targeted towards improving local schools.
“We know how essential it is for our kids to read by the third grade and then they learn to read the rest of their lives. When we consider this issue, we must consider the kids who’s lives it impacts and what will happen to them if we fail to act,” she said.
Martinez says it took the state nearly a half a million dollars to operate the now sold state jet. The governor plans to use that money to purchase a reading book for all first graders in the hopes of encouraging families to read together.
Reported by Carlos Correa