Today, Governor Susana Martinez signed House Bill 2, New Mexico's FY13 budget, at Puesta del Sol Elementary in Rio Rancho, following her participation in "Read Across America Day," where she read to kindergarteners and celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday with students in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.
The balanced budget keeps New Mexico's financial house in order, while increasing funding for public education by nearly $90 million and providing a $41 million increase in Medicaid to deliver health care to those most in need. The budget also allows room for significant tax reform initiatives that Governor Martinez supports as a critical way to make New Mexico more competitive in order to create jobs. Last week, the Governor signed legislation reducing the double and triple taxation on construction contractors and manufacturers, allowing for the expansion of these businesses and increasing our competitiveness with surrounding states. The legislature also approved a tax credit for New Mexico employers who hire veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This budget embraces the core priorities of reforming our education system to ensure that our children can read and succeed, investing in efforts to grow businesses and create jobs, and protecting health care for those New Mexicans who are most in need," said Governor Martinez.
"And for the second year in a row, we have balanced New Mexico's budget without raising taxes. In fact, this year, we cut taxes."
Direct education reform funding includes $8.5 million for the state's early reading initiative, $3.5 million for direct assistance to schools that receive a grade of D or F under the state's A-F grading system, and $2.8 million to ensure college and career readiness by assessing students in grades 4-10 to provide students the help that they need and paying for all New Mexico 10th graders to take the PSAT. Pre-K and K-3 Plus funding will also be increased by $3.7 million and $5.7 million, respectively.
"I am particularly proud of the bipartisan support we received for investing directly in reading initiatives and providing help to struggling schools to ensure every New Mexico child is given a quality education," continued Governor Martinez. "If we are going to truly reform education, sending tax dollars to the same status quo to be spent in the same failing way isn't going to cut it.
Tax dollars should be used on proven strategies that work for our children. We have to invest in the classroom, and we have to be focused on improving our kids' ability to read, so that they are able to learn well and graduate from high school with the skills necessary to lead successful lives."
The $5.6 billion budget signed by Governor Martinez increases state spending by 4 percent, or $219 million. FY13 reserves are projected to reach roughly 9 percent of the state budget.
"In my State of the State address, I noted that our primary responsibility was to ensure that we kept our financial house in order, and I'm confident that this budget does that. Santa Fe did not go on a spending spree and we focused spending on our top priorities," said Governor Martinez.
"The work we did last year to cut waste in government and make the tough decisions necessary to close the largest structural budget deficit in state history has put us in a position to begin investing in our priorities, like tax reforms to help small businesses create jobs and school reforms that help children learn to read by the 3rd grade."
The budget also increased funding for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) to $7.9 million, a $6.7 million increase over last year's appropriation of $1.2 million. JTIP is a successful jobcreation program that allows businesses in New Mexico to hire new workers and expand by paying for up to 50 percent of a new employee's salary during the employee's first six months of work, while they are training.
Finally, to ensure that nursing homes won't have to close due to federal Medicare cuts, $8 million was provided to ensure that we are protecting some of the most vulnerable New Mexicans.