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Lawmakers give final approval to $6.2 billion budget

The Legislature has sent a state budget for next year to Gov. Susana Martinez, wrapping up the biggest task of the 60-day legislative session that ends tomorrow.

The House on a unanimous vote today went along with changes the Senate made to the $6.2 billion spending plan, putting the final stamp of approval on the legislation and sending it to the governor.

Minority Democrats noted that many of the changes the Senate made to the budget were proposals they had offered during House debate but were rejected by the Republican majority.

The budget funds public schools, higher education and state agencies for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It passed the House on a 42-25 vote on Feb. 24, then cleared the Senate last week, after being amended, on a 38-3 vote.

Overall, the budget would increase state spending by roughly $80 million — or 1.3 percent — over this year’s levels. It would provide pay raises for new starting teachers and State Police officers,  but rank-and-file state employees would not get a salary hike.