New Mexico ended fiscal 2012 with $250 million of higher-than-expected revenues, which brings the state’s total ending reserve balance to almost $750 million.

General fund revenue in fiscal 2012 totaled $5.78 billion, up almost $400 million or 7% from fiscal 2012.

The official forecast predicted a 2.9% increase in fiscal 2012 revenues from fiscal 2011 and an ending surplus of $500 million.

The 2012 ending reserve balance is 13.5% of annual recurring appropriations. The state’s goal is 10%.

“Growing reserves above the 10% level provides a safety net that will protect against unexpected fluctuations while allowing us to maintain critical services,” said Gov. Susana Martinez.

Tom Clifford, secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, said up to $200 million of the unanticipated revenue increase came from oil and gas severance taxes and state royalties. Those collections can fluctuate widely as energy prices rise and fall, he warned.

“The latest revenue numbers reflect a nice boost, but they demonstrate that New Mexico has a volatile economic base,” Clifford said.

“We still need to be cautious with our public finances going forward, but higher reserves will offer a safeguard for taxpayers in the event of an economic downturn,” he added.

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