New Mexico – Today the Democratic Party of New Mexico blasted Governor Martinez for calling for irresponsible cuts to state agencies, including the Public Education Department, as students across the state prepare to go back to school this month.
“Governor Martinez has been irresponsible with the budget and refuses to prioritize investments in education, in fact she’s refusing to prioritize anything—except the tax breaks she’s given to her corporate donors,” said Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “At a time when New Mexico is at the bottom of the list for education, there is no room to restrict resources for our schools. Our kids are heading back to school in the coming days and weeks, and they should not have to worry if their teacher is going to be there the entire year or if their school is going to cut programs that enrich their learning.”
Yesterday, Governor Martinez announced a directive for all state agencies to cut 5%, which includes the Public Education Department (PED). A 5% spending cut to PED would cut $137,950,000—enough to pay nearly 3,000 teachers.
New Mexico is facing one of its largest budget shortfalls since the great recession with a total deficit of nearly $200 million in FY2016. Under Republican leadership the state suffers from anemic economic growth and an unemployment rate that is well above the national average at 6.2%.
Senate Democrats proactively called for a special session earlier this month. Governor Martinez refused to address her failed economic policies, while the state’s economic outlook continues to worsen.