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Why are education and other state services being cut. What is the problem? When the New Mexico Legislature passed $1 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the rich in 2003, this created a budget deficit which lawmakers balanced with increased tax revenues from higher oil and gas prices. After the energy prices dropped, the deficit reappeared. But the 2009 State Legislature refused to repeal the $1 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the rich in order to balance the deficit. Instead, lawmakers cut the student unit funding value by $9 for 2008-09 and another $20.68 for 2009-10, resulting in deep education cuts. Lawmakers also passed HB 854 which increased retirement deductions for education employees by 1.5 percent for two years. This gave the state about $84 million to use elsewhere since they made state employees contribute part of the state’s portion into their retirement fund. Lawmakers refused to provide education employees with cost-of-living increases. They also refused to provide schools with funding to pay for increased utility and insurance costs. Finally, lawmakers refused to spend President Obama’s education stimulus to save jobs and create new jobs in New Mexico’s public schools.
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