Next stimulus round offers flexibility for New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Next stimulus round offers flexibility for New Mexico

Cracks appear in a Santa Fe County road. New Mexico officials are weighing how to spend federal stimulus funding, some of which could go to road repairs. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico can expect to receive a lump sum of $1.75 billion – without many strings attached – sometime this month as part of the latest round of federal stimulus funding, according to a new report by legislative analysts.

It isn’t clear yet how the money will be spent or who will make the decision. Lawmakers and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham remain at odds over who has authority to allocate the stimulus funding.

In any case, staff economists and analysts for the Legislative Finance Committee told lawmakers Friday that the new guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department confirms that much – perhaps even all – of the money could simply be plugged into the state’s general fund, making it available for a wide range of purposes.

Micaela Fischer, program evaluation manager for the Legislative Finance Committee, said the federal guidance makes it clear the Legislature’s initial plan to allocate much of the money – vetoed by the governor – is permissible.

As part of this year’s spending plan, legislators had proposed using $600 million of the federal funds to shore up the unemployment insurance fund, $100 million for the lottery scholarship program and $200 million for major road projects, among other priorities.

“The legislative plan is still probably a good framework to start from on how to appropriate” the money in the future, Fischer told members of the LFC meeting in Las Cruces.

Lujan Grisham vetoed the legislative stimulus plan in April, contending lawmakers had intruded on the executive branch’s authority to handle federal funds. A spokeswoman for her administration also said the Legislature’s plan was premature, given that the money hasn’t arrived yet and the detailed treasury guidance wasn’t issued until this month.

Fischer said New Mexico is set to receive $1.75 billion – about $130 million more than initial estimates – and it should arrive this month in one lump sum, not divided into two payments, because the state’s unemployment rate is about 3 percentage points higher than it was before the pandemic.

Spending to expand broadband infrastructure will have to meet certain internet-speed requirements, Fischer said, but the state otherwise has broad flexibility in how to allocate the money to replace lost revenue, support public health measures, improve access to clean drinking water and offer premium pay to essential workers.

The latest round of federal stimulus funding pushed the total flowing into New Mexico to about $19.4 billion – a figure that includes direct payments to taxpayers and funding to schools and local governments.

More Journal Polls

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Next stimulus round offers flexibility for New Mexico


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Outdoor rec projects receive $2M+ in state funding
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico Economic Development Department's ... The New Mexico Economic Development Department's Outdoor Recreation Division handed out more than $2 million to 20 projects statewide through its Outdoor Recreation Trails+ ...
2
Rain or shine, students fight for normalcy
ABQnews Seeker
Homecoming returns after years of pandemic ... Homecoming returns after years of pandemic impacts
3
NM to be part of 'clean freight corridor'
ABQnews Seeker
Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout ... Hydrogen network could power trucks throughout Southwest
4
Judge was a 'very generous and caring person'
ABQnews Seeker
Friends and colleagues describe Judge James ... Friends and colleagues describe Judge James A. Parker as a gentleman
5
Climate-fueled wildfires worsen dangers for struggling fish
ABQnews Seeker
A summer-long mission comes to a ... A summer-long mission comes to a quick end as cutthroat trout rescued earlier this year are released into new digs
6
Stewart moves to oust Ivey-Soto from committee post
ABQnews Seeker
Sexual harassment allegations against him behind ... Sexual harassment allegations against him behind the action
7
APD arrests suspect in killing outside Calvary Church
ABQnews Seeker
Victim a security guard and former ... Victim a security guard and former Bernalillo County Fire Rescue commander
8
Electric demand to outpace capacity for New Mexico utilities
ABQnews Seeker
Blackouts feared for 2023, 2024 seasons Blackouts feared for 2023, 2024 seasons
9
New Mexico allows funds for prosecutions in 'Rust' shooting
ABQnews Seeker
DA declines to name potential targets DA declines to name potential targets