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Gov. Susana Martinez signs $6.2 billion budget

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed into law a $6.2 billion budget for next year that will provide more money for New Mexico public schools and universities, but does not include a pay increase for rank-and-file state employees.

While enacting the spending plan, the governor used her line-item veto authority to strike down about $8 million worth of legislative proposals, including raises for some nurses and a $750,000 one-time appropriation for magistrate courts statewide.

Martinez signed the bill today at the office of an Albuquerque health care software company. She said the budget will help diversify New Mexico’s economy, due to an increase in funding for several economic development initiatives.

“This budget, simply put, helps us to continue that momentum,” the governor said.

In all, the budget calls for state spending to increase by roughly $84 million, or 1.3 percent, over current spending levels, for the fiscal year that begins in July. It will mark the fourth consecutive year in which overall state spending has increased.

Martinez was joined for today’s announcement by several Cabinet secretaries, including Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera, and three Republican lawmakers.

The governor specifically cited increased funding for K-12 schools, child protection services and economic development efforts as key parts of the budget, saying, “We put our money where our mouth is and we set our priorities.”

Martinez faces a deadline of noon tomorrow to act on most legislation passed during this year’s 60-day session.

Check tomorrow’s Journal for a full story.