The House Appropriations and Finance committee approved the state budget bill on a party-line vote of 10 – 7 Thursday morning.
The budget, including higher education, was approved last Monday. That remained unchanged in the budget voted on this morning. All of higher education would see an increase of $42 million or 5.3 percent. UNM’s increase is 4.6 percent. Compensation for higher education remains at the LFC-recommended increase of 1.5 percent.
The big sticking point was public education, which accounts for $2.6 billion. The disagreement focused on how much of the public education budget would flow through the formula to the districts and how much could be spent by the Secretary of Public Education on much publicized reform efforts. In the budget going forward, 97 percent goes to the districts, though several committee members commented on the fact that school boards have the discretion to use their money on reforms as they see fit.
The next stop for the state budget, all elements now contained in House Bill 2, will be the full House.