New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed a $6.15 billion FY15 budget that funds state government, public schools and higher education.
UNM main campus is getting a 3.1 percent increase, with a 1.1 percent increase going to the HSC. The governor did not touch funding for 1.5 percent pay increases for higher education employees funded by I&G (Instruction and General funding), which is about 62 percent of UNM's workforce.
As the state faces shortages in its health care workforce, the governor touted funding in the budget for expanding that workforce. This includes $1.5 million for nurse practitioners at UNM as well as $905,000 for more primary care residency slots at the School of Medicine.
However, in her executive message, the governor said the budget as approved by the legislature was "overspent" and drew down reserves. So she trimmed $27 million from a number of areas.
The $4 million for the higher education endowment did not survive the veto pen. It was vulnerable because legislation that would have changed its distribution did not make it through both houses before the session ended on Feb. 20. The governor has said repeatedly that the current distribution lacks accountability and transparency, which was why she also vetoed the higher education endowment fund infusion last year.
The ballot question is now set for the General Obligation Bond vote during the November election, which Martinez signed (SB 53) without any veto action.
At stake for UNM is $20.5 million for Farris Engineering Center and $12 million for the Domenici Health Education Building at the HSC. UNM branch campuses also have GO bond projects that add another $6.5 million to UNM’s project portfolio.
On Nov. 4, New Mexico voters will have the opportunity to vote on GO Bonds for Education (for nearly every public higher ed institution in the state) as well as GO bonds for library acquisitions that include UNM’s academic libraries.
The governor did trim $2.6 million from statewide Severance Tax Bond projects contained in HB 55. However, UNM emerged in good shape, with $3.356 million in projects that include funding for Physics and Astronomy, Anderson School of Management, safety lighting and Johnson Field improvements, among others.
There is less than a day left for the governor to take action on bills. One final issue still pending is solvency for the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship.