In the wake of the 2019 legislative session, people across New Mexico are taking stock of how much Legislature-approved money to fund infrastructure will end up in their communities. There’s a lot of it–$933 million in the main capital outlay bill and an additional $60 million in “junior” spending bills drafted after lawmakers realized how flush the state is in oil money. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has until April 5th to sign legislation. Before she signs off on the infrastructure spending, called capital outlay, it’s possible she’ll use her line item veto authority to strike some of the projects. She asked state agencies to “vet” projects, according to an email sent last week to potential recipients by the Department of Finance and Administration.
A gaping revenue shortfall and lack of reserves have New Mexico’s legislators worried about short-circuiting the progress of large investments made in early childhood and safety net programs in recent years. A steep decline in the price of oil has contracted an industry on which New Mexico relies heavily, leading to broad layoffs, sales of oilfield equipment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. That, in turn, has gutted the cash from tax revenues state leaders counted on to pay for state operations. State leaders emptied out the state’s reserve fund to balance last year’s budget. Now they must close this year’s shortfall — projected at $69 million — without a pot of money that has cushioned economic pain in previous economic downturns.
An explanation on how New Mexico In Depth selected the projects to analyze.
Top 10 individual New Mexico capital outlay project appropriations, 2010-2014:
$27.5 million for the Paseo Del Norte/Interstate 25 interchange (this is one of three appropriations for the interchange totaling more than $30 million)
$20.5 million for the renovation of Farris Engineering Building, University of New Mexico
$19.2 million for the renovation of Jett Hall, New Mexico State University
$19 million for demolition and renovation of Hardman and Jacobs Hall, New Mexico State University
New Mexico’s Capital Dilemma
Read the other articles in this series:
Explore our database of capital outlay projects
Analysis: Weaknesses mar NM’s capital outlay system
New Mexico’s Capital Dilemma methodology
$18 million for a geology facility, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
$17.3 million for Southwest Regional Spaceport (this is a 2012 reauthorization of a 2007 project, with some of the money forwarded to a 2014 project)
$16 million for Clark Hall renovation, University of New Mexico
$15 million for Chemistry Department facility construction, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
$13.6 million for Human Services Department information technology
$12 million for Health Science Center health education building, University of New Mexico
Bottom 10 individual New Mexico capital outlay project project appropriations, 2010-2014
$500 for equipment at the Ena Mitchell Senior & Wellness Citizens Center in Lordsburg
$570 for meals equipment at the Vaughn Senior Center
$840 for equipment at the Mora Senior Center
$900 for meals equipment at the Melrose Senior Center
(tie) $1,000 each for equipment at the Hobbs Senior Center, the Grants Senior Center and the Mitten Rock Senior Center
$1,100 for meals equipment at the Eunice Senior Center
$1,140 for equipment at the Ramah and Thoreau senior centers in McKinley County
(tie) $1,300 for equipment at the Clayton Senior Center and Logan Senior Center
Coloradas Mangas works to prevent suicide in Mescalero. Instead of asking for more money to help kids choose life, he asks people to care, to help, to let our children know we’re here for them.
This taboo of speaking about death is common among New Mexico’s tribal communities. Some people in and around Thoreau are pushing to change that after as many as 15 young people died by suicide in 2010.
While it might not seem like it from reading headlines day-in, day-out, the heart of journalism beats with hope. It is with that hope that NMID offers this series in a spirit of both humility and gratitude.
New Mexico’s Native American youth die by suicide at a rate twice as high as that seen among people of other ethnicities. And our analysis suggests that official databases underestimate the true number of lives lost.
Thirty-three counties and more than 100 municipalities in New Mexico have passed restrictions on mining, oil and gas that go beyond state laws. A controversial bill that would limit that local control passed the House Tuesday.
KUNM’s afternoon host Chris Boros and NMID’s Gwyneth Doland took a few minutes Tuesday afternoon to handicap abortion, right-to-work legislation and transparency proposals as lawmakers enter the final days of the 2015 session. Listen to the interview.
Creating jobs is one of lawmakers’ top priorities this legislative session and dozens of proposals will require the state to spend some money, either by giving up tax revenue or by investing directly.