New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez last week signed an $86 million capital outlay bill passed by the Legislature during September’s special session.
The projects will be funded through general obligation debt and revenue bonds supported by state severance taxes on oil and natural gas.
The Republican governor criticized the Democrat-controlled Legislature for rejecting her proposed $213 million capital outlay effort, which included $40 million for state highway maintenance.
“Legislators had the opportunity to support projects that would lead to New Mexico businesses hiring New Mexico workers right away, and instead they signaled to struggling contractors and unemployed workers that they simply need to wait,” Martinez said.
The Legislature balked at the size of the governor’s proposal and slashed it by well over a half on concerns that state revenues would lag in fiscal 2012.
Martinez said she signed the bill because it funded important projects around the state, in compliance with her desire to limit capital outlay expenditures to major state or regional efforts.
State offices in Santa Fe County will receive $20 million in improvements from the bond proceeds, including $10 million for renovations for the headquarters of the Taxation and Revenue Department.
The measure also provides $15 million to settle water-rights disputes with Indian tribes, $13.6 million to upgrade the computer system of the Human Services Department and $11.6 million for improvements at state prison facilities.
New Mexico’s severance tax bonds are rated Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service, with a triple-A rating for general obligation debt. Standard & Poor’s rates the state at AA-plus.