Posted at: 03/13/2013 6:22 PM
Updated at: 03/13/2013 10:13 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Photo: Gov. Susana Martinez
State lawmakers have sent a nearly $6 billion budget to Gov. Susana Martinez, who says she is going to veto it, with the end of the legislative session now just two and a half days away.
A special session lies dead ahead in the very near future if lawmakers can't get back to the drawing board and agree on how to address the Governor's problems with the budget they just wrapped up and delivered to her.
The budget is the one piece of legislative business that cannot go unfinished. It pays for state government and public schools and universities - everything from potholes to prisons. The Governor is unhappy about the lack of merit pay for outstanding teachers, and a watering down of the tax cuts she wants for businesses that create jobs.
"As soon as I get the budget I will veto it," the Governor told us in a one-on-one interview late Wednesday afternoon. "Hopefully there is time left for them to start to prioritize and make sure that we have enough money to teach our kids to read from kindergarten through third grade, and make sure that there's enough money for economic development."
For 58 days the lawmakers have been in session - 58 days that start with rituals and ceremonies and lengthy introductions of special guests to go along with the hard work they've done. Now legislative leaders say that the two and a half days they have left doesn't give them much time to come up with a new budget agreement.
"We should have concurred to continue to negotiate," The Governor said. "I'm willing to do that. They need to do that. Maybe there's time to continue before the session is over. If there isn't, then a special session will have to be called."