"Traditionally those have been decisions left up to principals and up to school boards. So the real question here is the state of New Mexico going to be the one handing these out? I think that's very problematic for any local school district," Keller said.
The first-term governor proposed a nearly $33 million increase in spending for Medicaid, which provides health care for a fourth of the state's population. Martinez announced Wednesday that her administration plans to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults under terms of a federal health care law. The change won't require additional state money initially because the federal government will pay the extra cost.
The governor's Medicaid recommendation — $933 million — is very close to the $940 million proposed by the legislative committee. However, there's a potential source of disagreement on Medicaid. The legislative spending plan assumes the administration can save almost $11 million next year when it reduces the number of Medicaid managed care companies. The governor's budget doesn't do that.
The legislative committee and the governor are in agreement on a more than $30 million plan to raise the state's contributions to pension plans for public employees and educators by 1.5 percent. That's needed to offset a scheduled drop in payments by workers. Pension payments by employees were increased and the government's contributions dropped by a similar amount as part of a budget-balancing plan enacted in 2009 but set to expire this year.
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