56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023


Rod Montoya and William E. Sharer and Crystal R. Diamond

and James G. Townsend and Stefani Lord








     WHEREAS, New Mexico is one of only a limited number of states where the legislative branch and the executive branch both develop a fully detailed general appropriations act recommendation for the upcoming fiscal year; and

     WHEREAS, in most states, only the governor or the executive branch of state government develops a full general appropriations act recommendation, which is then submitted to the legislature for consideration, and then the legislature makes adjustments or other changes to the governor's original recommendation; and

     WHEREAS, in New Mexico, the legislature's general appropriations act recommendation, which is developed by the legislative finance committee, has equal standing with the governor's recommendation, and both recommendations are considered equally by the house appropriations and finance committee during its appropriations hearings in the session; and

     WHEREAS, under the current process, appropriations decisions are almost exclusively made by the house appropriations and finance committee and the senate finance committee; and

     WHEREAS, the current process does not permit a broad enough array of legislators to participate in the appropriations-making process; and

     WHEREAS, for example, in the current process, the only house committee, other than the house appropriations and finance committee, that has any direct influence on the appropriations recommendations is the house transportation, public works and capital improvements committee, which recommends appropriations for the department of transportation; and

     WHEREAS, no other committee plays a direct role in the formation of the appropriations recommendations, although the legislative education study committee used to present a recommendation through the house education committee; and

     WHEREAS, the legislative finance committee, which meets during the interim to begin drafting its recommendations, is primarily made up of members who serve on the house appropriations and finance committee and the senate finance committee; and

     WHEREAS, under the current appropriations-making process, many legislators are provided with limited advance information of what is included or not included in the general appropriations act, and typically, non-committee members are provided with the proposed general appropriations act only about twenty-four hours before the act is to be voted on; and

     WHEREAS, such short notice of what is in the general appropriations act and the predominant influence of the two appropriations-recommendation-making committees impair the ability of many legislators to fully participate in conversations regarding the details and complexities of the general appropriations act, ultimately hindering the legislator's ability to a actively participate in critical state appropriation decisions; and

     WHEREAS, the general appropriations act for upcoming fiscal year 2024 will be approximately nine billion four hundred million dollars ($9,400,000,000) in terms of "recurring" spending, yet recent acts have contained "nonrecurring" appropriations that were dedicated to recurring spending programs; and

     WHEREAS, because such a limited number of legislators have detailed knowledge of the general appropriations act, the current process could lead to excessive amounts of overall government spending; and

     WHEREAS, this process does not encourage the broad feedback and public scrutiny necessary to promote wise and efficient state spending;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the New Mexico legislative council be requested to conduct a study to review the entire appropriations process and provide suggestions on how to reform the process to be more transparent, be inclusive to allow individual members more input, guarantee that money is spent wisely and efficiently and use the expertise of the various standing and interim committees; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Mexico legislative council procure the study and obtain additional assistance from the national conference of state legislatures and other organizations with expertise in state appropriations procedures; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, by October 1, 2023, the findings and recommendations of the study be presented to the New Mexico legislative council and any other appropriate interim committees as directed by the New Mexico legislative council; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the co-chairs of the New Mexico legislative council, the director of the legislative council service, state legislators and the governor.

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