A special session of the N.M. legislature convenes June 18 to address impacts of the pandemic-related economic collapse on the State budget. “At the state level, it’s not as dire as you may think,” State Representative Daymon Ely said May 28. A big part of the discussion will center on grants that may come from the federal government to aid stricken state budgets.

“My concern is not this fiscal year or next fiscal year… it’s the fiscal year after that. The federal delegation is very optimistic that we’re going to get that money. If we’re able to get that support, we will be fine.”

Corrales’ State Representative said in a May 28 virtual “town hall”meeting called by Mayor Jo Anne Roake that N.M. state government is in better shape than neighboring states. “Arizona and Utah are in much worse shape statewide than we are.”

Even so, the House District 23 representative said, local governments could find themselves in dire straits. He said already the City of Santa Fe “is $100 million in the red.”

When State legislators convene later this month they will likely pull back into the State treasury any appropriations from previous sessions that have not already been spent or encumbered. “Money not spent is coming back.

“But the truth is, we put aside a 26 percent reserve. The State has never done that before, not in those kinds of numbers. So roughly $1.9 billion were set aside within the budget that has not been spent. For this fiscal year ending June 30, we’ll be $400 million in the red and a lot of that is going to come back in capital outlay not spent.

“And for next fiscal year, we’re going to do a combination of cutting and using the ‘rainy day’ fund. I think we’ll get there.” Ely said the session may be conducted by Zoom, using interactive computer screens, although the opening day will almost certainly be in person in the Round House. He thought the entire session may be finished within four days.

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