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Breaking: Key Senate panel approves amended version of $5.9 billion state budget

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A $5.9 billion state spending plan for the coming year is headed to the full Senate for a final vote, after members of the Senate Finance Committee voted 8-0 in favor of amended legislation.

The budget bill approved today includes numerous changes from the version that passed the House on a 53-16 vote on Feb. 21.

In all, the amendments boost state spending in the budget bill by $6.5 million. Some of the increased spending would be targeted at higher education and state tourism marketing.

Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the amended budget positions the state to withstand possible federal budget cuts.

It could also allow for certain tax breaks sought by Gov. Susana Martinez, but only if legislation aimed at tightening up existing tax incentives is also approved.

“We didn’t have a lot of extra dollars to work with,” Smith said. “We couldn’t take care of all the governor’s initiatives, but I think it’s a legitimate, true compromise.”

Check tomorrow’s Journal for more information.

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