|Legislative Update, Monday, March 13|
Legislative Update, Monday, March 13, 2017
Budget and Revenue
The Senate has passed amended versions of House Bill 202 and an amended General Appropriations Act, HB 2. The tax package raises the revenue necessary to prevent further cuts to public education. The appropriations bill rearranges public school funding, but keeps it near the level in the original HB 2. However, apparently, in an effort to please the governor, more funds were placed at the discretion of the PED. This resulted in $20 million fewer dollars in the School Equalization Guarantee (SEG) than the original house bill. Thus, this version of the appropriations act increases the SEG by only $18 million.
These amended measures are on the House Concurrence Calendar. The House can either accept the Senate Amendments (concur) of refuse to accept the amendments and send the measures to a conference committee made up of members of both chambers.
The message is still short and simple: “Please support reasonable revenue increases like House Bill 202, Senate Bill 231, and Senate Bill 131. Please support funding public schools and higher education. Public education cannot continue to function with additional funding cuts. Cuts would be disastrous for our children and the women and men who serve them as public education employees!” Calls to the Governor are especially important now!!!!!!!!!!!
Tobacco Tax to increase school funding
Specifically SB 231 (increasing the tobacco tax to add 89 million new dollars to public schools) is headed to the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. Several Democrats on the committee appear to be wavering. Please follow this link to call all committee members and ask for their support for new funding for public schools. The acting chair of the committee is Carl Trujillo (Chairman Jim Trujillo is recuperating from heart surgery) of Santa Fe, office phone (505) 986-4236.
No cuts and more revenue
In general support of no cuts and more revenue, calls should be placed to:
Add your own legislators to the list by following the link below.
Follow this link to get your legislator’s office number and a suggested message.
Teacher Sick Leave
House Bill 241 which would have allowed teachers to take up to 10 days a year of sick leave before in affected evaluation was vetoed by the Governor. The bill’s prime Senate sponsor originally indicated that he would seek a veto override. That seems to have changed as it appears he is working with the Governor on a compromise. Follow this link to ask your legislators to vote to override the Governor’s veto.
Below is a link to the video of the Senate Finance Committee Meeting regarding Higher Education and the Public Education Department (K-12). It is 3 hrs. and 38 minutes long. The first half are presentations by NM Higher Ed. Presidents, and beginning at 4:41, selected Superintendents (Rio Rancho, Odessa, etc.) discuss the impacts of additional cuts and lack of funding to their students/communities in their districts. There will be significant job losses. Las Cruces is reporting 350 positions. Rio Rancho is on a hiring freeze, spending freeze and out of substitute funds right now. At the 120 days in the fall they will not have anymore funds for transportation.
I must say that ...all leaders were very blunt and articulate in explaining how this will affect our state, communities and children. Please share to spread the word. This is no joke. The Governor must pass a tax increase. There is no other way to continue "to cut and expect excellence" as one individual stated in their testimony. Please call the Governors office and state that you want her to support public schools and a budget that supports our public schools. Call your representatives. The testimony is very sobering. Please watch it and share via email, FB and/or Twitter.
EDCS Staff Member
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