RED RIVER – Lawmakers who must figure out how to haul New Mexico out of its deepening budget hole heard gloomy forecasts Wednesday as they get ready to head into a special legislative session next month to begin coming up with fixes.
The state ended the budget year 2015-16 on June 30 about $131 million in the hole even after transferring money from reserves, according to figures released at a meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee. And there’s a projected shortfall for the current budget year of $458 million.
The decline in oil and natural gas prices has savaged the state’s finances. There was an 8.7 percent drop in revenue, or $545 million, in the just-ended budget year from the previous year.
Each drop of a dollar in the price of a barrel of oil means a reduction of about $9.5 million, and that is compounded by the slowing economy in the state’s oil and gas producing regions.