Monday, October 5, 2009

Special session starts Sat. Oct. 17

A special session of the Legislature will start Sat. Oct. 17 at noon, Gov. Bill Richardson just announced.

"After meeting with education leaders, I am more convinced than ever that we must fight against attempts to cut school spending," the governor said in a statement. "The superintendents reiterated their strong opposition to drastic cuts that some legislators have proposed.”

Richardson has proposed cuts to every state agency except public schools by 3 percent; several lawmakers says there’s no way to avoid cuts to public schools.

Estimates say the state needs to cut at least $400 million from the current spending plan. Richardson has proposed $444 million in cuts, but some lawmakers say the budget shortfall could go as high as $550 million.

Legislators are expected to unveil their spending plan later this week. Cuts to education are expected to be a major battleground, and educators and members of the teacher's union on Friday will hold a rally at the Capitol.

The session will be limited to budget matters.

Richardson, who earlier said the session would last just one day, seems to have given up on that idea.
“The length of the session will be dependent on how long it takes to reach a consensus on the budget,” he said.

Anyone placing bets on how long that will be?

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