House Appropriations & Finance Committee Sends Budget to House Floor

The House Appropriations & Finance Committee, passed Substitute for HB 2on a 10 to 7 party line vote. It now heads to the House floor.   HB 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 will provide $6.174 billion in state spending, an increase of $280 million, a 4.8% increase over this year’s budget.

House Bill 2 was a substitute; it prioritizes education with public education spending being increased by $150 million, or 5.8% and an increase in higher education up $42 million, or 5.3%.

“Earlier in the week we outlined our education priorities,” said Speaker of the House W. Ken Martinez (D-Bernalillo, Cibola McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia-69) “our priorities are decreasing class sizes, equal funding for all of our children, standing up for local teachers and administrators to control where they think the money is best spent, and giving teachers a much needed pay raise.”

“This budget does just that.  I am looking forward to a debate on the House floor about the future of our children.”

The House Appropriations Finance Committee Substitute HB2 Highlights:

  • Public employee compensation increases by 3% for public education and agency employees plus an additional amount for salary tiers for teachers and for state police, correction and parole officers, juvenile justice and protective service workers, and elected officials.
  • Funding for early childhood programs including home visiting, childcare, pre-K, K-3 plus early reading increases of $30 million.
  • The public education appropriations increase $136 million for the state equalization guarantee, virtually the amount needed to make maintenance of effort.
  • Below the line appropriations reach almost $92 million, an increase of $23 million or 34%.  HAFC included a number of executive initiatives, including Pre-K, K3 plus, early reading, teacher evaluation system, leadership preparation, and early college high school.
  • HB2 is more than $30 million below the executive’s request.
  • Higher education adopts a formula methods proposed by college universities.
  • The appropriations for Medicaid reflect savings from the Affordable Care Act, but also includes $20 million for rate increases for hospitals, nursing homes, and personal care providers.
  • HB 2 uses general fund appropriations for transportation by $14 million with an additional $4 million nonrecurring appropriations.
  • HB2 includes over $3 million reducing the waiting list for developmentally disabled services.
  • Other significant initiatives include expansion of healthcare workforce and training, telehealth and school based health centers, veteran’s fire crew, protective services investigators and drug courts.
  • HB 2 has many Jobs Councils recommendations: $10 million for the LEDA job closing fund, provides recurring appropriations for the job training program and boosts tourism funding more than 20%.
  • HB 2 leaves general fund reserves around 9%.