Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings has released three ideas on helping the state climb out of its budget hole. They aren't recommendations per se, but rather three scenarios for Gov. Bill Richardson to consider. Jennings, D-Roswell, called all of them "painful."
Among them :
-- Cut education spending by 3.5 percent and salaries for state employees by 2.5 percent.
-- Cut state agencies, higher education and schools by almost five percent.
-- Not cut education spending or Medicaid, but reduce everything else in state government by about 16 percent.
More details are here.
The news comes as more than 2,000 people are rallying outside the state Capitol against education cuts and for the repeal of tax cuts for wealthy New Mexicans. All of this is ahead of the Oct. 17 special session in which lawmakers need to cut at least $400 million from this year's spending. The total amount to be cut could reach as high as $700 million, some legislators have said. New revenue projections are expected out next week.
UPDATE, 2:26 p.m.
The ideas didn't seem to sway Richardson.
"Governor Richardson continues to stand with New Mexico's teachers and kids to resist harmful cuts to classroom spending. The governor has provided guidance to lawmakers and ultimately, the entire Legislature must work together to reach a consensus and deliver a fiscally responsible budget," a statement from his office said.