Water Delivery Falls Short
New Mexico fell more than 34,000 acre-feet short of its June 1 delivery target of Pecos River water to Brantley Reservoir, despite pumping 1,970 acre-feet of groundwater from augmentation wells to add to the flow, the Interstate Stream Commission reports. The commission projects water supplies in Brantley Reservoir, used as the measuring point for water deliveries to Carlsbad Irrigation District, will be about half the target of 75,000 acre-feet by the July 15 deadline. To meet the July deadline, the state would need to pump more than 38,000 acre-feet from its augmentation wells in the next 45 days, well beyond the pumping capacity. A typical household uses about half an acre-foot of water a year.
Cash Assistance Down, Food Assistance Up
The Human Services Department reports 17,460 households received cash assistance in April, a drop of 11 percent from April 2010 and 22 percent from the caseload peak in December 2010. The number of New Mexico households receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was at 193,464 in March, up 8.2 percent from a year ago. The SNAP caseload has doubled since the recession began but growth is slowing. Although income limits on the program were raised in April 2010, programs managers estimate the change only added about 10 percent to the caseload.
Economy Stronger than Forecast
General fund revenues are coming in stronger than expected so far this year. Revenues through March are 3 percent to 4 percent higher than estimated in December. Areas of strength are mineral production taxes, federal mineral revenues and gross receipts taxes related to oil production. Corporate income taxes are coming in weaker than expected. The general fund revenue report for March is available through the LFC website.
Feds Will Cover Most of Reform Tab
The 100,000-to-140,000 patient increase in Medicaid enrollment expected in 2014 because of the federal healthcare reform law is projected to cost the state $10.6 million to $16.6 million, program managers say. The federal government is covering most of the cost of the expansion with $560 million to $780 million in new federal dollars expected to flow to the state.
LFC has hired two new program evaluators and three new fiscal analysts.
Mary McCoy has been a budget specialist for the city of Albuquerque, Livestock Board and State Budget Division. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Mexico City and has a masterís degree from Georgetown University. She will be the analyst for the natural resource agencies.
Jon Clark, the new analyst for economic development agencies, previously worked as a manager for the Economic Development Partnership and the Technology Transfer Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory. He has a masterís degree in business from the University of New Mexico.
Eric Chenier, who will work as an analyst for public safety agencies, comes to the LFC from the Health Department, where he was a management analyst. He has a masterís in public administration.
Rachel Mercer-Smith, a new program evaluator, has spent the last two years teaching at Shiprock High School through Teach for America. A Rice University graduate, she has a background in quantitative methods.
Elaine Romero, an instructional coach with Albuquerque Public Schools and legislative bill analyst, will be working for the program evaluation unit for the summer as a specialist in education issues.