Money provides framework for legislature

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By Harold Morgan

Money provides framework for the annual legislative session report from the Legislative Finance Committee.
State government is fundamentally in the people business. As measured by spending planned for the budget year — FY 14 in the jargon — starting July 1, the big two are education and the catchall of health, hospitals and human services. This comes from “Legislating for Results: 2013 Post-Session Review,” published in April by the Legislative Finance Committee.
The summary outlines spending of $5.9 billion by 144 agencies. That’s just over $2,800 for each New Mexican. A lot more money passes around the general fund, transportation and Medicaid spending in particular. Enterprise operations such as the State Fair (still called Expo New Mexico) and the Land Office are businesses of sorts, generating their own financing.
The Department of Transportation expects to spend about $875 million. If the department had another $1.7 billion or so, life would be good. “The unfunded construction needs” as the LFC put it, of $1.5 billion and the “maintenance shortfalls of another $225 million” would go away.

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