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Sun Jan 15, 2017, 12:04 PM

Budget woes cast shadow over 60-day legislative session

SANTA FE – When New Mexico lawmakers convene at the Roundhouse on Tuesday for the start of a 60-day legislative session, they’ll be greeted by new faces in top leadership positions and a sticky budget morass that’s already prompted sweeping spending cuts.

Fresh off a bruising election season in which all 112 legislative seats were up for election and several prominent incumbents were either ousted or did not seek re-election, leaders in the House and Senate will also face cries to raise the state’s minimum wage, increase criminal penalties and overhaul the state’s system for handling ethics complaints.

But the budget situation will cast the longest shadow.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, who was elected by his colleagues to fill the post long held by Michael Sanchez of Belen, an election casualty, said fixing a projected $69 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year – with cash reserves all but depleted – and crafting a spending plan for the coming year will require bipartisan compromise and all his mediation and listening skills.

Read more: https://www.abqjournal.com/928028/budget-woes-cast-shadow-over-60day-session.html

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