New Mexico State Land Office Earns Second Highest Revenue Ever at $577 Million in 2013

New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell has announced that the New Mexico State Land Office earned $577 million in revenue for the state land trust in 2013.

raypowell3Close to $563 million was earned for public schools, universities, and hospitals throughout the state during the last fiscal year. The State Land Office’s operating budget is less than three percent of the total amount. Over the last five years, the revenue generated by the State Land Office has saved taxpayers more than $2.6 billion.

Fiscal year 2013 marked the second highest year ever for State Land Office earnings. The highest year of earnings was fiscal year 2012, when state trust lands produced $653 million in income.

“The New Mexico State Land Office is working hard to ensure that revenues are optimized to support the beneficiaries,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell. “We are working with the private sector, our sovereign tribes, our local, state, and federal agencies, and our local communities to create jobs for New Mexicans while protecting the health and productivity of our working lands.”

The New Mexico State Land Office is responsible for managing state trust lands to generate income for 22 beneficiaries and for taking care of the lands so they are healthy and productive for the future.

During this last fiscal year:

  • More than $497 million went to support public schools in New Mexico.
  • More than $20 million went to state colleges and universities.
  • More than $15 million went to special schools, such as the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, in Alamogordo, and the School for the Deaf, in Santa Fe. More than $7 million went to hospitals, including Miner’s Colfax Hospital in Raton, and special hospitals like Carrie Tingley Hospital in Albuquerque.
  • Almost $29 million went to other institutions, including the State Penitentiary and public buildings, water reservoirs, Rio Grande Improvements, and other beneficiaries.

Distributions from the State Land Office amounted to almost 94 percent of the operating budget for the New Mexico School for the Blind in Alamogordo, almost 75 percent for the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, 23 percent for Miner’s Colfax Medical Center in Raton, and 21 percent of the operating budget of public schools throughout the state in fiscal year 2013.

Revenues from nonrenewable use of the trust lands, such as the royalties from oil and natural gas extraction, are deposited into the Permanent Fund. They are invested and a percentage of the fund is paid to the beneficiaries.

Revenues from the renewable resources uses, such as grazing, rights of way, interest on earnings and bonuses paid to acquire oil and gas leases, are distributed directly to the beneficiaries, minus the State Land Office’s operating budget and other administrative expenses.

A complete list of state land trust beneficiaries is available on the agency’s website here.

The monthly financial reports are available online here.

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Ray Powell, the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands, is the elected state official responsible for administering the state’s land grant trust. Thirteen million acres of land were granted to New Mexico in 1898 and 1910. Each tract is held in trust for the public schools, universities, as well as special schools and hospitals that serve children with physical, visual, and auditory disabilities. In fiscal year 2013, the trust lands produced more than $577 million in income for the beneficiaries, which saved the average household about $800 a year in taxes.