Their view: Gov. Martinez calls for investing in education

Gov. Susana Martinez announced her fiscal year 2013 budget proposal in a press release Thursday. Here are a few excerpts:

“I am proud to announce to New Mexicans that our fiscal house is back in order,” said Gov. Martinez. “ A year ago, we made a commitment to balancing our budget without raising taxes, while protecting core priorities like classroom spending and health care for those most in need. Thanks to responsible budgeting and an intent focus on cutting excess costs in government, we are now able to take another step forward by making important investments in the education of our children, as well as economic reforms to improve New Mexico’s long-term fiscal health and ability to compete for jobs.”

Just fourteen months ago, reserves for FY11 were projected to total just 3.5 percent of the state budget by the end of that fiscal year, and the state was facing a staggering structural budget deficit. After significant cost-cutting measures that included selling the state’s luxury jet, reducing the number and salaries of political appointments, placing a moratorium on state vehicle purchases, renegotiating state office leases, eliminating hundreds of unused or unnecessary cell phones, and passing a budget that critically assessed funding needs throughout state government, New Mexico closed FY 2011 with general fund reserves at well over 9 percent of the state budget, and FY12 reserves are also projected to finish at nearly the same level.

Expressing appropriate caution given the still-fragile state of the economy, Gov. Martinez’s executive budget proposal maintains funding for most agencies at the current level. It continues the fiscal responsibility that has allowed the state to regain its financial footing, but includes significant proposals that will further improve New Mexico’s education system, help to put New Mexicans back to work and provide healthcare and essential services to those who need them most.