Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HSD: $153 million in budget cuts would have 'devastating impact'

Like all state agencies, the New Mexico Human Services Department is reviewing the cuts made by lawmakers in last week's special session. HSD said in a release just now that it is "bracing for $153 million in cuts to critical services for New Mexicans."

The department says that the budget bill, if signed by the governor, would slash services such as children’s health care, behavioral health care, health care for developmentally disabled individuals, medically fragile and those with HIV/AIDS and nutrition assistance for seniors.

"These services are critical for New Mexico’s low-income residents,” said Katie Falls, Human Services Department acting secretary. "Cuts to these programs can result in devastating consequences for New Mexico’s most vulnerable population."

Not all that money is a cut from the state's general fund, however. The department says: "In all, the department is anticipating a $37.6 million state general fund cut to department’s budget. Cuts in state funding will also result in a loss of $115.5 million in federal matching funds for a total of $153.2 million in cuts to the Human Services Department budget."

To reduce the impact to state programs, the 7.6 percent budget cut "could result in as many as 15 full days of furloughs for Human Services Department staff and/or layoffs," the release said.

The details are the first provided by the Richardson administration about the cuts. The governor has until Nov. 12 to act.

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