SANTA FE, N.M. — The Latest on New Mexico’s state budget crisis (all times local):
A monthly report from New Mexico finance officials shows a rebound in state tax revenue after a prolonged downward slide.
A report from the Legislative Finance Committee on Thursday says state tax revenues in March increased by about 14 percent from the previous year to $516 million.
Signs of a recovery in state tax income are easing pressure on state lawmakers as they prepare for a special session next week to balance the budget for the coming fiscal year. Gov. Susan Martinez vetoed a variety of tax increases and is seeking further belt tightening by state government.
The March revenue increase was driven by gross receipts taxes on sales and business services that rose to $163 million, up by $20 million from the previous year.
State economists attributed that tax boost to slow economic growth an oil-industry recovery. Overall tax income for the current fiscal year still trails last year by nearly 2 percent.
New Mexico policy makers are looking for ways to restore full faith in the state’s credit as they negotiate a solution to a budget crisis.
Lawmakers on Thursday were studying new strategies for rebuilding state financial reserves that do not involve abrupt spending cuts or tax increases.
The state’s dwindling rainy-day funds are on the agenda for next week’s session, in efforts to protect the state’s credit rating and keep borrowing costs affordable for local construction projects.
As recently as 2015, New Mexico had $712 million socked away in the event of a downturn in its oil-infused economy. Now the money is mostly gone.
Experts in state government finance at the Pew Charitable Trusts say consistent planning can restore confidence among ratings agencies and investors.