SANTA FE (KRQE) —
UPDATED 6:48PM - The Governor's office released a statement on the bill:
The Governor has long said that, if allocated wisely, capital investments can create jobs in the short-run and lay a long-term foundation for economic growth. She has worked diligently with legislative leaders for several weeks to identify substantial statewide and regional projects that improve our state’s infrastructure and fix critical health and public safety needs.
We have not yet seen the final draft of the legislation (particularly the local projects). As the Governor has said, when the bill makes it to her desk, all of the projects will be evaluated on whether they have been prioritized and vetted, whether the projects are appropriate for bonding, and whether they can be completed with the funding allocated.
The updated story reflects the statement.
Democrats say a nearly $125 million spending package aimed at boosting the state economy by funding shovel-ready projects appears to have bipartisan support.
The potential compromise on the bill, known as the Work New Mexico Act, comes a year after a testy fight over capital outlay funding.
Governor Martinez vetoed $23 million in capital outlay spending last year, decrying many of the projects as nothing more than pork.
This year there could be agreement on most of the $225 million capital outlay funding expected to be spent this session.
In details provided to KRQE News 13, the Work New Mexico Act includes funding for dozens of senior center improvements, $11.5 million for building and security upgrades at several state prisons, $3 million for mitigating the risk of wild fires, $6 million for museum and monument equipment and repairs, $4.2 million for dam improvements and nearly $19 million for building and renovating school facilities at state universities.
The Governor's office says they still plan on reviewing each item to make sure the projects included are fully vetted, prioritized, can be completed with the funding and suitable for bond money.
House Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants, said at a Monday morning press conference he would be surprised if the Governor vetoed any of the statewide projects included in the bill. The Democratic Party estimated in a press release that nearly 2,500 jobs would be created by the Work New Mexico Act.
However there's also spending in the bill that isn't necessarily directed at creating jobs. $6 million is earmarked for new voting tabulators statewide and $10 million is set aside to pay settlements in several Native American water rights cases.
There's still approximately $100 million that's individually distributed between state senators and representatives that is not part of the agreement. Governor Martinez is hoping lawmakers avoid allocating those funds for projects that aren't totally funded or are a waste of money.
Ken Martinez says he hopes she uses a light touch with the veto pen this time so that the rural communities often given capital outlay funding will see the benefits of that spending.
Correction: In the broadcast version of the story, it was reported that there's $7.5 million allocated for state prison improvements in the Work New Mexico Act. The correct number is $11.5 million.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.