“Capital outlay funds, in the context of government, are those used to build, improve or equip physical property that will be used by the public. … Much … is funded through three sources: general obligation bonds, severance tax bonds, and nonrecurring general fund revenue.”
– N.M. Legislative Finance Committee
“It is taxpayer money. It doesn’t belong to us – it belongs to the citizens of New Mexico. This just makes public the final list on how we appropriate that money.”
– Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, SB 144 sponsor
We are the only state in the union that divvies up the money to be spent on capital assets by handing it over to politicians with no regard for what it will be used for. One third each goes to the Senate, House and governor.
And despite what some lawmakers would have you – the taxpayer who is footing the bill – believe, there is no way to figure out who is asking for, or who gets, what. Hundreds of individual projects are crammed into a single bill, often with multiple lawmakers as sponsors. Or none. Attaching their name is a lawmaker’s prerogative.