New Mexico House debates $5.9 billion state budget

Posted at: 02/21/2013 2:02 PM
By: BARRY MASSEY Associated Pres

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - State workers will receive their first pay increase in four years under a proposed state budget being considered by the House.

Lawmakers debated the measure on Thursday to allocate nearly $5.9 billion next year for government programs and public education.

The budget will increase state spending by $239 million or slightly more than 4 percent. About $35 million is provided for 1 percent pay raises for state workers and educators and 3 percent for state police.

It will be the first across-the-board salary increase for public employees since 2008.

The proposed budget will increase spending $22 million on early childhood initiatives, including pre-kindergarten, child care assistance to low-income families and a program extending the school year for students in kindergarten through third grade in schools serving high-poverty areas.

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