Eighty days after the New Mexico Legislature adjourned sine die, ending its regular session, legislators were back in the roundhouse in a special session called by Gov. Susana Martinez to complete some unfinished business on Monday.
The legislature completed its work on both a capital outlay and tax reform package in about four hours. The package now goes to the governor for her signature. The special session was called to deal primarily with a capital outlay package that failed to pass before the regular session ended on March 20.
Capital outlay is important to every community in the state in terms of building projects, jobs and economic development. In the ensuing months, feeling the pressure from municipalities, higher education, tribes and the business community lobbied for a special session, Gov. Martinez and legislative leaders labored on a compromise that would ensure passage of capital outlay and a small tax reform package without a lot of drama. Agreement was finally reached last week and a special session was called over the weekend.
The $295 million capital outlay package mirrors the version passed in the senate last March, but with the addition of another $35 million, primarily for road projects. As in the previous package, there resides about $9 million in projects for UNM main campus, including $1 million for engineering facilities, $5.3 million for the Health Education building, $1.2 million for Physics and Astronomy & Farris Engineering, and a number of smaller project amounts for Zimmerman Library, Lobo Plaza, athletic facilities, equipment and vehicles.