State House OKs budget deal; Garcia Richard votes against

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Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration will receive money to establish a merit pay system for teachers under a proposed state budget approved by the House.

Lawmakers voted 53-16 on Thursday for the plan to allocate nearly $5.9 billion next year for government programs and public education.

The budget, which goes to the Senate, will increase spending by $239 million or about 4 percent.

About $35 million is provided for 1 percent pay raises for state workers and educators and 3 percent for state police. It will be the first across-the-board salary increase for public employees since 2008.

Several Democrats objected to the budget because it provides $3 million to establish a merit pay system to reward high-performing teachers. Martinez had requested $11 million.

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba) voted against the appropriations bill.

She released the following statement.

“Today I was asked to make a decision that weighed heavily on my heart. For over a decade, I have fought along the side of my fellow educators to protect our schools and educate our children. I have worked tirelessly with House District 43 School Districts and teachers to ensure the legislation we pass positively impacts schools across New Mexico,” Garcia Richard said.

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