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Legislative budget hearings start next week

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A legislative committee is starting work early on developing a budget to finance state government and public education.

The House Appropriations and Finance Committee will hold its first hearing next Monday, about a week before the Legislature convenes for a 30-day session.

Lawmakers will be briefed on proposed $6 billion spending blueprints by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and the Legislative Finance Committee, which is the permanent budget oversight panel for the Legislature.

The governor has proposed a 3 percent budget increase next year and the LFC has recommended spending growth of about 4 percent.

The Legislature convenes on Jan. 21. Lawmakers can consider budget, tax and financial issues, constitutional amendments and proposals placed on the agenda by the governor.