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Governor and Legislative Panel Each Reveal Budgets | The Line


>>AWASH IN OIL MONEY,
LAWMAKERS TAKE TO THE CAPITOL ON JANUARY 21 FOR THIS YEARS
LEGISLATIVE SESSION. BOTH THE GOVERNOR AND THE
LEGISLATIVE FINANCE COMMITTEE RELEASED BUDGET PROPOSALS THIS
WEEK. GOVERNOR MICHELLE LUJAN
GRISHAM HAS PROPOSED BETTER THAN AN 8% INCREASE, WITH
ADDED SPENDING ON SCHOOLS AND ROADS, INFRASTRUCTURE,
ESPECIALLY IN SOUTHEAST NEW MEXICO, PAY RAISES, A ONE-TIME
INFUSION OF MONEY INTO A TRUST FUND FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD
EDUCATION AND MONEY TO FILL IN THE GAPS FOR TUITION AT STATE
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES FREE.>>LAWMAKERS ARE ABOUT AT 6
1/2 PERCENT FOR THEIR INCREASE. WITH DIFFERENCES IN FUNDING
FOR A NEW EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND MONEY
FOR THAT PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION TUITION.>>LET’S INTRODUCE OUR
PANELISTS BEFORE WE GET GOING ON THE LINE. ALL OF THEM SIGNED UP TO
RESEARCH THIS WEEK’S TOPICS AND OFFER THEIR INFORMED
OPINIONS. WE WELCOME LINE REGULAR AND
ATTORNEY LAURA SANCHEZ-RIVET. NICE HAVE YOU WITH US. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU.
29. AND HOLDING.>>YES.>>DIANE SNYDER, FORMER STATE
SENATOR, GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE.>>FREQUENT GUEST, HE IS A
LAWYER AND PUBLIC SAFETY EXPERT. ED, GOOD TO SEE YOU. FORMER STATE SENATOR ERIC
GRIEGO. WELCOME BACK.>>NICE TO SEE YOU.>>START WITH YOU. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE. LAWMAKERS ARE GOING TO SPEND A
MONTH DISSECTING THIS BUDGET. WE’LL DO IT IN ABOUT 10
MINUTES SO THEY’LL HAVE POINTERS TO TAKE, PARTICULARLY
THE DIFFERENCE ERIC IN FUNDING EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT. THERE IS A BIG CHUNK THERE,
ABOUT 50 MILLION. WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THAT
DIFFERENCE?>>WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK THE
CREATION OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD DEPARTMENT IS A HUGE
ACCOMPLISHMENT. I THINK A LOT OF FOLKS GET
CREDIT FOR WORKING HARD ON THAT BUT IF YOU’RE GOING TO
CREATE A NEW SORT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, YOU GOT TO
FUND IT, RIGHT? THAT MEANS TAKING ALL THESE
DISPARATE PIECES THAT USED TO BE IN VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND
TRYING TO DO IT IN A CONSOLIDATED WAY AS MANY
STATES HAVE DONE. IT IS A HUGE STEP FORWARD FOR
YOUNG CHILDREN IN NEW MEXICO. UNFORTUNATELY, AND I AGREE
WITH JIMENEZ OF NEW MEXICO VOICES. HE SAID, LOOK, WE HAVE DONE
ALL THIS WORK. WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
THIS, WE HAVE THE MONEY NOW, WE NEED TO FUND THIS
DEPARTMENT. AND NOT JUST — BY THE WAY,
THIS ISN’T FUNDING BUREAUCRACY, THIS IS FUNDING
PROGRAMS AND THE WHOLE SPECTRUM OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
WHICH STARTS BEFORE BIRTH, BUT AT LEAST AT BIRTH, ZERO TO
FIVE, WHICH HAS BEEN GROSSLY UNDERFUNDED AND ONE OF THE
OTHER THINGS IN THIS BUDGET THE GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING IS A
NUMBER OF INCREASES WHICH ARE VERY POSITIVE IN TERMS OF
ELIGIBILITY FOR CHILDCARE ASSISTANCE, MORE MONEY FOR
VARIOUS PROGRAMS, ALL GOOD STUFF AND THEN THERE IS THIS
320 MILLION DOLLAR EARLY CHILDHOOD TRUST FUND. AGAIN POSITIVE ON ITS FACE, IT
SEEMS LIKE A LOT OF MONEY, BUT ESSENTIALLY IT IS MONEY KEPT
IN RESERVE AND THEY WILL BE DRAWING DOWN A SIGNIFICANT BUT
NOT NEARLY ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF FUNDING FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD. 20 TO 30 MILLION A YEAR AND IT
SOUNDS GOOD ON PAPER. MY ONLY CONCERN IS THAT WE ARE
FUNDING EARLY CHILDHOOD PROBABLY, BEST CASE SCENARIO,
2/3 OF WHAT IT SHOULD BE AT IN TERMS OF 120,000 KIDS ZERO TO
FIVE. SO WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE TALKING
ABOUT IS DIVERSIFYING STATE REVENUES IN A WAY THAT DOESN’T
RELY ON OIL AND GAS, NOT JUST FOR ALL OF STATE GOVERNMENT,
BUT SPECIFICALLY FOR THINGS LIKE INVESTMENTS IN EARLY
CHILDHOOD. I HOPE THAT IN THE SESSION IN
ADDITION TO TALKING ABOUT THIS VERY IMPORTANT BUDGET ISSUE,
THEY’LL TALK ABOUT HOW DO WE REALLY REPLACE THE OIL AND GAS
REVENUES WITH REFORMING OUR PERSONAL TAX SYSTEM, CORPORATE
TAX SYSTEM, ELIMINATING DEDUCTIONS FOR THINGS LIKE
CAPITAL GAINS SO WE ARE NOT RELYING ON THE BOOM AND BUST
CYCLE AND CREATING SPECIAL FUNDS SO WE CAN SAVE THE
MONEY. I THINK THE GOVERNOR — THIS
IS A BIG INCREASE BUT I WANT TO REMIND PEOPLE WE HAD A FLAT
BUDGET FOR MANY YEARS AND WE HAVEN’T INVESTED IN THINGS
LIKE K 12 AND EARLY CHILDHOOD. THIS IS MAKING UP FOR LOST
TIME. AND THE GOVERNOR ALSO PUT —
IS PROPOSING PUTTING 25% INTO RESERVES WHICH IS A HUGE
AMOUNT OF MONEY TO MAKE SURE WE COVER ANY UNFORESEEN
CIRCUMSTANCES. IT IS A GOOD BUDGET. I’M A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED IN
WHERE THE EARLY CHILDHOOD MONEY IS GOING. AND I THINK HER BUDGET IS MUCH
BETTER THAN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, LEGISLATIVE FINANCE
COUNCIL BUDGET, LEGISLATIVE BUDGET.>>I WANT TO PICK UP WITH YOU
ON THIS. DO YOU THINK THAT WHAT ERIC
WAS TALKING ABOUT, THAT THE EARLY CHILDHOOD TRUST FUND
TAKES THE PLACE OF ANY PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENT FOR PERMANENT FUND FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD?>>I THINK IT IS A WIN FOR
THOSE THAT HAVE ADVOCATED FOR THE TRUST FUND FOR A LONG
TIME. I THINK THAT IT IS IMPORTANT
TO CREATE A DIFFERENT SPACE THAN WHAT THE PERMANENT FUND
HAS DONE.>>AND I THINK EVERYBODY —
WHAT I FIND REALLY INTERESTING IS THE LFC, THEIR PROPOSAL
ACTUALLY INCREASES THE AMOUNT OVER WHAT THE GOVERNOR
PROPOSED. GOVERNOR PROPOSED 320 MILLION
AND THE LFC IS PROPOSING 325 MILLION WHICH I THINK IS A
HUGE — FOR ANYBODY WHO HAS BEEN AROUND THE LEGISLATURE
AND BEEN PART OF THE DISCUSSION, THAT IS HUGE TO
HAVE THE LEGISLATORS LIKE JOHN ARTHUR SMITH FROM DEMING TO
BLESS THIS IDEA OF PUTTING MORE MONEY INTO THAT FUND. IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE
THAT. I THINK THAT IS A BIG GOOD
MOVE FORWARD BUT BACK TO WHAT ERIC WAS SAYING, I THINK IT IS
21.7% LESS FUNDING FOR THAT DEPARTMENT OVER WHAT THE
GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING, THAT IS PRETTY BIG. SO, BIG PICTURE, IF YOU TAKE A
STEP BACK, IT IS INTERESTING TO ME TO SEE HOW CLOSE THEY
ARE IN THE BIG NUMBERS TO EACH OTHER. THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL IS
LIKE 7.68 MAYBE, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.>>BILLION, SORRY.>>7.68 BILLION AND THE
LEGISLATURE IS 7.54 BILLION. NOT THAT FAR APART BUT THERE
IS BIG DIFFERENCES IN DETAILS AND THAT IS WHAT IS
INTERESTING. WHAT I FOUND IMPORTANT TOO IS
BOTH OF THEM TALK ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE AND GOVERNOR’S
PROPOSAL IS ANOTHER 200 MILLION FOR
INFRASTRUCTURE. THEY WILL PUT 425 MILLION FOR
INFRASTRUCTURE, ROADS, HIGHWAYS. THAT IS ALSO A JOB CREATOR
IMPORTANT FOR NEW MEXICO TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE PEOPLE
TAKING THOSE JOBS IN CONSTRUCTION, ABLE TO GET
PEOPLE TO WORK. THAT I FOUND REALLY IMPORTANT.>>THERE MIGHT BE A SPINOFF
FROM THAT, DIANE, I’LL COME TO YOU NEXT, BUT, YOU HEAR
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY THEY HAVE SUCH A DIFFICULT TIME
FINDING PEOPLE. IF YOU CREATE THE JOBS WHERE
THERE IS STABLE MAYBE ONE OR TWO YEAR WINDOW FOR THOSE
PROJECTS, THEN YOU HAVE THESE PEOPLE HERE, IT IS EASIER FOR
PEOPLE IN ALBUQUERQUE AND THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF THE STATE
TO ENTICE THEM. FISCAL CONSERVATIVES, I THINK
WHEN YOU CREATE A NEW STATE DEPARTMENT, AUTOMATICALLY
YOU’RE HAVING TO SORT OF REPLICATE STUFF THAT WAS
ALREADY TAKING PLACE. IF YOU’RE CARVING UP A BUNCH
OF DEPARTMENTS AND PUTTING THEM INTO EARLY CHILDHOOD
EDUCATION UMBRELLA, YOU HAVE TO HIRE STAFF TO MAKE THAT
DEPARTMENT WORK. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU?>>TO SOME DEGREE. ONE OF THE THINGS THEY DID,
THEY TOOK SEGMENTS FROM SEVERAL DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS
AND PUT THEM TOGETHER. YES, YOU HAD TO HAVE A NEW
SECRETARY AND LEADERSHIP. THERE WILL BE SOME ADDITIONAL
STAFF BUT NOT LIKE IT WAS SOMETHING THAT THE SERVICES
WEREN’T ALREADY BEING DONE OR PROVIDED. SO, IN THAT SENSE, IT IS NOT
TOTALLY NEW. I THINK THAT FISCAL
CONSERVATIVES, WE TEND TO LIKE THE IDEA OF THE TRUST FUND. BECAUSE YOU’RE PLANNING AHEAD. EVEN WITH A 25% RESERVE, OIL
AND GAS IS NOT GOING STAY AT THE TOP LIKE IT IS RIGHT NOW. IT WILL EVENTUALLY BUST BACK
DOWN. THE BOOM ONLY LASTS SO MANY
YEARS. WE SAW AND CERTAINLY SOME OF
THE YEARS THAT I WAS IN THE SENATE, WE HAD A HUGE BOOM
RIGHT WHEN I STARTED. AND THEN A HUGE BUST WHERE IT
WAS DIFFICULT. OUR ROADS SUFFERED, EDUCATION
SUFFERED. EVERYTHING. OUR COURTS WERE REALLY
PENALIZED SO FAR AS GETTING FUNDING. SO, YOU HAVE TO REALLY PLAN
AHEAD. SO, I DO THINK THE FISCAL
CONSERVATIVES WILL LIKE THAT. THE THING THAT I THINK FOR ME,
IF YOU I COULD JUST VEER A LITTLE HERE, IS THE FUNDING
FOR FREE EDUCATION. I AM VERY WORRIED ABOUT THAT
BECAUSE I SEE IT — ALL I SEE IS EDUCATING YOUNG PEOPLE AND
THEN THEY GRADUATE AND THEN LEAVE NEW MEXICO BECAUSE THEY
DON’T HAVE A JOB HERE AND SO I THINK WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE
ARE DOING SOME EQUAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASPECTS TO MAKE
SURE THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE JOBS BECAUSE THE OTHER PIECE
OF THAT IS WE KNOW THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF PROFESSIONAL
WORKERS IN THE TRADES AREA, SO, WHY NOT — I WOULD LIKE TO
SEE SOME OF THAT GOING TOWARDS TRADES TUITION IN THE TRADE
SCHOOLS LIKE CNM OR PLACES. I THINK THAT WOULD BE, TO ME,
A BALANCED APPROACH TO OVERALL EDUCATION OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE.>>I WANT TO JUMP IN HERE AND
STEAL TIME FROM OUR NEXT SEGMENT. WHAT STRIKES YOU ABOUT THIS
BUDGET? I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT
PUBLIC SAFETY BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF RESOURCE
QUESTIONS, BOTH FOR COURTS. GOVERNOR SAID SHE WANTS TO
HIRE MORE STATE POLICE OFFICERS. WHAT DO YOU SEE IN HERE THAT
MAKES SENSE OR DOESN’T?>>THE GREATEST SENSE IS
EDUCATION. ITS TIME HAS COME. WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT
EDUCATION ISSUES FOR A LONG, LONG TIME AND WE HAVE A NUMBER
OF INITIATIVES AND IT TOOK, IN PART, THE LAWSUIT OF YAZI
MARTINEZ IN ORDER TO TRY TO IMPACT AND FORCE SOME CHANGES
AS FAR AS THE FUNDING IS CONCERNED. WE KNOW AT THE CORE WHEN WE
TALK ABOUT PUBLIC SAFETY, YOU KNOW, WE THINK ABOUT CRIME
STATS, VIOLENT CRIMES AND EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH
CRIMES AND VICTIMS, WHICH IS SO IMPORTANT, BUT IT ALL
STARTS WITH EDUCATION. IF WE CAN HAVE A SOLID
EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION WITHIN THE STATE, IT IS GOING TO
IMPACT EVERYTHING ALONG THE WAY. THIS IS REALLY INVESTMENT INTO
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. THE STRONGER MORE EFFICIENT
OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IS, I WOULD EXPECT, AND I THINK
STATISTICS PLAY OUT, THAT EVEN CRIME WILL DROP. THERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT
IMPACT CRIME WHEN IT COMES TO A SOFT OR A WEAK EDUCATIONAL
SYSTEM, SO, AGAIN, FROM A PUBLIC SAFETY STANDPOINT, THIS
PRIORITY AND THIS FOCUS ON EDUCATION, I THINK, IS
CRITICAL TO THE FUTURE OF OUR OVERALL CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM BECAUSE THERE IS A COST ASSOCIATED WITH THAT AND THE
GOVERNOR, IN THIS CASE, IS INVESTING ON THE EDUCATION
PIECE AND IN THE FUTURE THAT WILL REDUCE THE COST OF OUR
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SIDE. RIGHT NOW THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM NEEDS AN INFUSION OF MONEY AND REVENUE IN ORDER TO
DEAL WITH OUR CURRENT CRIME PROBLEM. SO THIS IS A LOOK TOWARDS THE
FUTURE.>>WE HEAR THAT TIME AND
AGAIN. MORE MONEY TO DEAL WITH THIS
ON THE BACK END IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAN IT DOES
IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.>>WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE. GOING TO GET POLITICAL IN OUR
NEXT SEGMENT, TALKING HIGH PROFILE NEW ENTRIES INTO THE
RACE FOR THE U.S. SENATE.

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