New Mexico’s Other Cache of Unspent Money

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Kevin Robinson-Avila, in today’s Albuquerque Journal, had a good overview of the state’s two permanent funds. As usual, they’re under siege by liberals who seek to siphon more revenue for “public investments.”

The two funds are mighty tempting targets. Together, they are worth nearly $20 billion — more than state government spends in an entire year.

But as the left dreams of using New Mexico’s “sovereign wealth” on another round of doomed-to-fail programs, attention may turn to another fund. The state’s budget reserve, according to the governor’s spending plan for the 2017 fiscal year, is $505 million, or 8.1 percent of “recurring appropriations.” As Medicaid costs balloon and the oil-and-gas industry continues to suffer, look for that share to dwindle, even though the Legislative Finance Committee prefers that the rainy-day kitty be kept at 10 percent.

With “new money” predicted to be just $30 million in the 2017 fiscal year, look for pols to start eyeing the budget reserve. A half-billion dollars can make a big contribution toward successful denial of fiscal realities.

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