SANTA FE – Tension over New Mexico’s gaping budget shortfall appears to be mounting, as Gov. Susana Martinez lashed out at Senate Democrats on Thursday for playing what the Governor’s Office described as “political games” with the state’s dicey fiscal situation.
The two-term Republican governor’s comments came after majority Senate Democrats had called on Martinez in recent days to put forward a budget-balancing plan and voiced concern about why a special legislative session to deal with the budget crisis has yet to be scheduled.
Meanwhile, a Martinez spokesman suggested other issues – including proposals to increase child abuse penalties and reinstate New Mexico’s death penalty – could be added to the agenda of a special session.
“Since it looks like the Senate Democrats don’t want to work on a budget solution in advance, that will mean a much longer session and it would make sense to include more items,” spokesman Michael Lonergan told the Journal, adding that no decision on adding other issues has been made.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, the lead negotiator for Senate Democrats in budget talks, said Thursday that he recently told the governor during a telephone conversation that a special session should focus on the budget crunch.
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