When the New Mexico Legislature is in session, the Government Relations Web site will provide daily reports. However, UNM's work in Santa Fe, with state government and the legislature, occurs year-round. Look for briefings periodically, especially when new items are posted on the Government Relations Web site. Bookmark the site and visit it often as a good deal of information will be made available that should prove to be interesting.
This week, the Legislative Finance Committee got the latest state revenue estimates from the consensus revenue estimating group that includes financial analysts from both the legislative and executive branches. You can find that report, plus the latest report on earmarked state revenues under "2011 Current Legislative Issues" on the Government Relations Web site.
Revenue estimates for the current and coming fiscal years are relatively flat – not nearly as positive as had been projected earlier in the year. That means the executive and the legislature are preparing for another frugal year. The good news, however, is that more than $245 million in new money is still projected for FY 13. That's important for faculty and staff who have seen paychecks decreased due to the 1.75 percent "retirement swap." If the projected increases hold, they will surpass the threshold established in the law that triggers elimination of the swap at the end of the fiscal year.
As a reminder, this is the language from HB 628:
"Notwithstanding a provision of this act to the contrary, the employer and employee contribution rates required by this act for the period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 shall continue for the period from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 if, after the last consensus revenue forecast before the beginning of the second session of the fiftieth legislature, the secretary of finance and administration certifies to the retirement board of the public employees retirement association, the educational retirement board and the legislative finance committee that, according to the consensus revenue forecast:
(1) general fund revenues in fiscal year 2012 will be less than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) more than the general fund revenue forecast reflected in the fiscal year 2012 state budget; and
(2) at the end of fiscal year 2012, the total amount in the state reserve funds will be less than five percent of the total general fund appropriations for fiscal year 2012."
The revenue picture will be clearer in December, but right now, DFA/LFC consensus analysts suggest that it looks promising for the 1.75 percent retirement swap to end next June 30.
If you have questions or comments, contact Susan McKinsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.