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SANTA FE – Gov. Bill Richardson takes steps today towards balancing the state’s budget. He signed legislation, while vetoing what he termed “irresponsible budget cuts that would have cut critical health services, closed prisons and jeopardized protection for kids.”
After taking final action on the special-session legislation, Richardson signed an Executive Order that sets five furlough days for state employees and further cuts state agency budgets by an average of 7 percent for the budget year.
The governor’s budget action, combined with his efforts to save $150 million by freezing capital outlay projects, will put the state on a path toward balancing the current-year budget, he said in a news release.
“Since the session ended, I have heard from hundreds of New Mexicans, including many legislators – who want me to exercise my veto pen to preserve those services. I understand and share their concerns, particularly in light of the previous budget cuts,” Richardson said. “However, it would be fiscally irresponsible to simply veto this bill and wait for the Legislature to meet again in January – more than half-way through the fiscal year. Instead, I am signing an Executive Order today that directs more responsible budget cuts across state government.”