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Breaking: Senate approves budget on 42-0 vote

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The Senate voted unanimously tonight to approve a $6.2 billion budget bill that includes salary increases for all state employees and teachers and more money for Gov. Susana Martinez’s education initiatives.

After a House-drafted budget bill stalled earlier this month, the Senate took up the task of cobbling together a spending plan for the coming fiscal year.

The bill approved tonight would increase state spending by $293 million — or 5 percent — over this year’s levels.

Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, said he hopes the budget passed tonight represents a deal all parties can live with.

“I don’t think the executive would enjoy a special session,” he said. “I know the House members wouldn’t enjoy a special session.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez issued the following statement:

“While the governor remains concerned about the overall spending growth in this budget and its adverse impact on the state’s reserves, this budget does represent a compromise that properly acknowledges the importance of investing in education reforms and key job creation efforts, as well as efforts to expand New Mexico’s healthcare workforce in rural areas.”

Check tomorrow’s Journal for a full story.

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