New Mexico’s Public Colleges Breathe Easier, as Governor Signs Budget Bill

Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico signed into law on Friday a bill to provide state funds to public colleges and universities in the next fiscal year, nearly two months after her veto of a spending bill jeopardized such funding, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The veto, of nearly $745 million in support for higher education, appeared to cast New Mexico as the next fiscal battleground, after Illinois, in which a  deadlock between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature resulted in a budget emergency for the state’s public colleges and universities. In Illinois a two-year-old impasse has hobbled many state institutions, and some of the weaker ones may be forced to close.

At the time of Governor Martinez’s veto, in early April, she said she would sign a bill if it was not tied to a tax increase. On Friday, at the same time she signed the college-funding bill, she again vetoed tax increases, leaving the state’s long-term budget stability still unresolved, the Journal reported. The Associated Press noted that an increase in tax revenue this year helped clear the path for the bill signed on Friday. The next fiscal year begins on July 1.

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