The New Mexico House Education Committee has adopted a budget for fiscal 2011 that provides 0.5% more for public education than in fiscal 2010, but even that small an increase may require a tax hike for implementation.
The proposed budget allocates nearly $2.5 billion to public education in fiscal 2011, including state and federal funding.
Committee chairman Rick Miera, D-Albuquerque, said the recommendation assumes the Legislature will raise taxes during its current session. A revenue shortfall of approximately $600 million is anticipated in fiscal 2011 due to declines in current tax collections.
School districts in the state have received about $210 million in federal stimulus funds in fiscal 2010, but only $24 million remains to be distributed in fiscal 2011. The proposed education budget would increase state aid to education to help soften that loss.
The committee approved a $20.5 million appropriation to help schools cover increases in health insurance premiums, and rejected a legislative budget oversight panel’s recommendation for a 2% cut in teacher salaries.
The proposal from the Education Committee will be considered by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.