Senate OK’s budget cuts; bill goes back to House

The Associated Press

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Senate has approved a budget-cutting bill that is the central piece in a deficit reduction package being considered in a special legislative session.

The Senate approved slightly less in spending cuts than the $257 million previously approved by the House.

Now the bill must go back to the House to consider changes the Senate made during nearly six hours of debate.

The bill cuts public schools less than 1 percent, and colleges and universities 2 percent.

But state agencies under the governor are particularly hard hit, with many required to take 7.6 percent cuts.

The Legislature has been meeting in special session since Saturday to make cuts and fund transfers to plug a $650 million hole in this year’s $5.5 billion state budget.