It's battle of the budget as session nears end

Posted at: 03/14/2013 4:56 PM
Updated at: 03/14/2013 5:27 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

State lawmakers will wrap up their sixty day session on Saturday, but the odds are they will be back in a special session.

Gov. Susana Martinez says she will veto the budget bill and call lawmakers back in to come up with another one.

Senate Finance Committee chairman John Arthur Smith said talks continue with the Martinez administration, but there is no deal at this point.

Martinez can't live with the budget that lawmakers crafted. Among other things, it leaves out $3 million in extra pay for outstanding teachers. Martinez also wants bigger tax cuts for businesses. New Mexico's corporate income tax rate is the highest in the region.

"What the legislature has to do is have the desire and have the courage to put our kids first and to put our economy first, especially with the federal sequestration cuts looming over us we have to diversify our economy," she said.

Democratic lawmakers say they're stunned that they will have to comeback in a special session over a $3 million difference in a budget that totals almost $6 billion.

"The reality is that we would have to wait a couple weeks at least for people to go home and take care of any business, and then come back," said Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat. "I don't think she would try to keep us here beyond Saturday, but I don't know. This is a Governor who doesn't disclose her information to us freely."

A special session will cost the taxpayers about $40,000 a day, and that's on top of the regular session that's costing New Mexican's more than $8 million.

Look for a special session sometime before the middle of May. That's mainly because the public schools will need budgets in place so they can do contracts with teachers and buy books and equipment and supplies for the school year that starts in August.