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Legislative special session delayed

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Richardson hopes lawmakers will work out their differences

By Susan M. Bryan

SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson is delaying the start of a special legislative session so lawmakers can work out differences before returning to the New Mexico Capitol on Monday to hammer out a plan for financing public schools and state government in the coming year.

Richardson initially called for the special

session to begin Wednesday, but House and Senate leaders urged him to push that back so they could have more time to discuss potential solutions to the state’s $600 million budget deficit.

Richardson said a few more days of meetings among legislative leaders and his administration would benefit everyone.

“I’m somebody who wants to get this done as rapidly as possible,” the governor said during a news conference Tuesday.

The state is projected to collect $5.1 billion next year and it’s spending $5.7 billion in the current fiscal year. At least $200 million in federal economic stimulus money is available to temporarily plug the shortfall.

Making up the difference is what has stalled lawmakers. They face several unpopular proposals — from trimming government spending to raising gross receipts taxes on goods and services and taxes on certain foods and cigarettes.


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