SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A bipartisan alarm was sounded Thursday by state officials who say evaporating revenues could leave New Mexico scrambling to meet its spending commitments for everything from schools and public safety to health care over the next budget year.
A key state senator called on Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to order lawmakers back to Santa Fe this summer to fill an expected hole of close to $200 million in the budget for the fiscal year that ended in June.
The other concern is future spending, as revenues are not expected to keep up with spending plotted out under the current budget.
Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Deming Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee, warned that anywhere from $300 million to a half-billion dollars in revenue could fail to materialize and that state leaders need to address the problem soon rather than wait for the next legislative session in January.
"The volatility we're looking at that created this is the roller coaster of oil and gas," Smith said, pointing to the ripple effect caused in the state's economy by tanking prices, resulting job losses and the effect the downturn has had on gross receipts and corporate taxes.