New Mexico’s $5.39 billion fiscal 2012 general fund budget, proposed last week by the Legislative Finance Committee, is $187 million more than the current budget but 10% less than fiscal 2009’s $6 billion spending plan.

“The committee faced the challenge of building a budget that would address needs far in excess of revenue growth,” said Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe, chairman of the panel. “State spending on public schools and Medicaid had to take a big jump up to cover the loss of federal funds.”

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