Demands fall due on big budget shortfall

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By Harold Morgan

With Gov. Bill Richardson following his usual management approach to tough matters – leave town – the Legislative Finance Committee gathered in Santa Fe Aug. 28 for the latest report on what might be done to maintain the solvency of state government.

The LFC got a first look at proposals to deal with the state’s shortfalls.

Right. That’s plural, meaning two budget years, the previous one and the current one.

Large, ugly numbers floated. The governor was in Malaysia, speaking at a Forbes conference exactly overlapping the LFC meeting.  Good timing.

The official math: $454 million plus $113 million. The $454 million has been the “negotiating number” for the current budget year, FY10, that ends June 30, Finance and Administration Secretary Katherine Miller, told the LFC. The $113 million is the amount needed to pay the bills for FY09, which ended more than 90 days ago. Closing the books used to take 60 days, says a former state budget official.

Now it gets interesting.

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