Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Richardson outlines budget cuts

Gov. Bill Richardson's office just sent out information on how he plans to cut the budget in the upcoming special legislative session.

The plan "reduces expenses and utilizes available funds totaling $444 million," according to his office.

Here are the plan's bullet points, as provided by Richardson's office.

"1. Agency Spending -- Cut budgets by 3-percent, excluding public schools, saving $100 million

2. Education Funding – Use $91 million in federal stimulus money to prevent cuts to public school spending for FY 2010.

3. Bonding Capacity -- Divert $135 million in available short-term bonding proceeds from future capital projects to operations.

4. Capital Outlay -- De-authorize between $60-$75 million in previously appropriated capital outlay projects – cancelling one-third of the Governor’s projects; one-third of the Senate projects; and one-third of the House projects.

5. Retirement Funds -- Delay General Fund increases to retirement and Retiree Health Care Authority funds – saving $21 million

6. Cash Balances -- Use $40 million in available money currently sitting in state agency treasurer and bank accounts, as well as special fund balances. Of that, $20 million will be withdrawn from the College Affordability Fund – with the intent to replace it in future years."

The governor presented the plan today to a group of legislators working to craft a spending plan ahead of the session. Some groups have called for public input into the pre-session process, but to my knowledge that hasn't happened.

Expect scrutiny and controversy on Richardson's plans to cut capital outlay, use cash balances and reduce agency spending by only three percent, lawmakers say. The Governor's Office, however, said agency cuts of more than three percent would likely result in layoffs and furloughs.

Already, the state yesterday told 27 workers at CYFD they would have to move or be laid off as the last juveniles kept at what was the Springer Boys' School were moved ahead of closing what remained of that facility. It was costing $1.8 million to keep the facility open, a CYFD spokeswoman said Monday.

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