ICYMI: House Democrats Put Pork Before Essential Services
Santa Fe, NM – Today House Democrats voted to protect their pet pork projects instead of preserving that money to meet the state’s budget shortfall.
During discussion of House Bill 5, a bill to make changes to the state’s capital outlay projects for FY 2017 earlier this afternoon, Rep. Jason Harper (R-Sandoval) offered an amendment to shift $63.7 million to the general fund from the amount assigned to the state’s FY 2017 capital outlay projects. The move could have been used to shore up the state’s general fund and mitigate cuts proposed to other areas of the government, like public education, law enforcement, and the Children Youth and Families Department.
“These projects are well-intentioned, but when times are tough, we need to protect essential services first,” said Harper. “New Mexico can afford to delay these projects for a year, but we cannot afford to make drastic cuts to classroom funding, services to protect New Mexicans, or programs to stimulate our economy. I’m disappointed that House Democrats have prioritized these pet projects ahead of our state’s priorities.”
In 2016, legislators requested capital outlay funding for projects like landscaping, skateboard parks, theater equipment and golf course improvements.
Harper’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 36 to 30. Every Republican member of the House voted for the amendment. House Bill 5 was later approved by a vote of 37 to 29. The bill is part of a four-bill solvency package debated by the House today.