Grappling with the revenue shortfall

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N.M. took its time making it known

By Carol A. Clark

Revenues will be about $10 million less this year and $53 million less than anticipated in 2010, according to a new financial forecast outlined Thursday to the Legislative Finance Committee.

That drop in revenues translates to a potential $500-$600 million budget gap next year. That’s how much is needed to avoid any cutbacks and to maintain a flat budget of services and programs with no growth.

“Unfortunately, it’s more or less true and us legislators have been more or less expecting it. We’ve been frustrated that the state hasn’t been willing to step up and admit it …,” Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-N.M., said this morning. “The spending comes in through the state and that’s part of the problem — They’re spending more than we have and most of us don’t feel it should be set up that way. We just heard about another task force that’s been set up that hasn’t been announced yet that is going to be looking at how to consolidate parts of the state government so it’ll cost less.”

Spending cuts are almost certain to happen in the upcoming 2011 budget year, which starts in July, according to a report by the Associated Press.

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