The New Mexico Legislature adjourns at noon today, and the House of Representatives completed the primary task for the 30-day session, approving a more-than six-billion dollar state budget bill Wednesday. The House okayed the proposed spending plan on a 58-8 vote. The measure now goes to Governor Susana Martinez. The legislature's budget represents a five-percent increase from last year.
Using authority extended by the state, the Santa Fe school board voted 3-2 on Tuesday to impose a property tax increase to generate up to 55-million dollars without asking voters. The tax hike will cover costs of the school district's digital learning plan, which upgrades technology at all 32 of the district's schools. State law gives school districts the authority to increase property taxes for technological upgrades without putting the question to voters.
2/16/14 — Audio Saucepan: “The Shiatsu Overdose Episode” includes the poems “The Best Seven Minutes of My Life” by Lorna Dee Cervantes (from Sueño, Wings Press); “The Pilgrim is Bridled and Bespectacled” by Bridget Lowe (from At The Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky, Carnegie Mellon University Press); and “May the Word Run Swiftly” by Tania Runyan (from Second Sky, Cascade Books).
The House is sending a six-billion dollar state budget proposal back to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee for it to try to break a stalemate over state education spending. The budget failed last week, with Republicans contending that it shortchanged Governor Susana Martinez's school proposals. An item on the table is a possible shift of 17-million dollars to fund educational programs overseen by the Public Education Department.
A proposed constitutional amendment to raise New Mexico's minimum wage to eight-dollars, thirty-cents an hour and provide for annual inflation increases rate has cleared a Senate panel. The Rules Committee voted 6-4 along party lines Friday to forward the measure to another panel for consideration. If approved by the Legislature, the minimum wage proposal would be placed on the November general election ballot for voters to decide. The current minimum wage is seven-fifty an hour and hasn't been adjusted in five years.
2/9/14 — Audio Saucepan: “The Episode Disguised as a Gentleman” includes poems by Barbara Tran (from In the Mynah Bird’s Own Words, Tupelo Press) and “Aunt Lillian” by Bart Schneider (from Morning Opera, Kelly’s Cove Press), and “How the Water Feels to the Fishes,” a flash fiction piece by Dave Eggers (from One Hundred and Forty Five Stories in a Small Box, McSweeney’s)