Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Mexico budget crisis rears its head in courts, colleges - MORGAN LEE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

New Mexico’s grinding budget crisis is taking a toll in courtrooms where overburdened attorneys have denied legal counsel to poor defendants, at museums reeling from layoffs and admission hikes, and at state universities and colleges grappling with steep spending cuts. A prolonged downturn in oil and natural gas markets continued to ripple through New Mexico’s economy over the summer and into the fall, undermining state tax revenues. Employers across the state have shed thousands of jobs since October 2015, as more than a third of New Mexico’s oil rigs shut down. “They’ve had cuts, significant cuts,” said John Hicks, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. “That’s very notable in comparison with the rest of the country to have an actual decrease in general fund taxes and general fund spending. I can’t say it’s bottomed out — it’s kind of a lower-revenue hit that is sustaining.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/new-mexico-budget-crisis/

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