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Gov. Martinez unveils $6.5 billion spending plan with ‘targeted’ pay raises

MARTINEZ: file photo

MARTINEZ: file photo

Gov. Susana Martinez rolled out today a $6.5 billion spending plan for the coming year that includes more money for public schools and Medicaid, but no across-the-board salary increases for state workers.

The proposed budget, which would be a $228 million, or 3.7 percent, increase over current spending levels, includes “targeted” pay raises for certain state employees — including corrections officers, child abuse caseworkers and public health workers.

Roughly three-quarters of the additional funding in the spending plan — a total of $170 million — would go toward public schools and Medicaid.

The state’s Corrections Department and tourist marketing initiative would be among the state programs receiving a funding increase, though most state agencies would not receive additional money.

“This budget prioritizes keeping our communities, families and children safe, while investing in critical education reforms to help our kids learn,” Martinez said in a statement.

In all, lawmakers are expected to have $232 million in “new” money to spend in the coming budget year, which starts in July.

However, the new money figure — the difference between current spending and money projected to be available in the coming year — has already been pared back once due to plummeting oil prices, and could be pared again after lawmakers convene in Santa Fe for a 30-day legislative session on Jan. 19.

The legislative branch has not yet submitted its spending plan for the coming year. That’s expected to happen next week.