New Mexico lawmakers debate budget bill on the House floor

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Arguably one of the most important bills, the state’s budget, was debated on the House floor Thursday. House Bill 2 lays out lawmakers’ plans for a $7 billion budget, one of the highest in state’s history thanks to an oil and gas boom.

House Democrats want to spend a huge chunk of it on education, healthcare and public safety.

"It’s the bill that represents the needs and the support of New Mexico," Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup, said.

Meanwhile, House Republicans, who are rolled out their own budget plan, said the House Democrats’ plans are unsustainable.

"And that’s currently the problem with the Democrat’s budget, it’s just unsustainable," Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, said.

House Bill 2 calls for $117 million to boost salaries for teachers, more than $300 million for statewide road construction and repairs and $14 million in economic incentives to bring out-of-state companies to New Mexico.

In all, the budget would increase overall state spending by $684 million and is an 11 percent jump from last year. Thursday evening, the bill passed the House floor and now heads to the Senate.

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