Where has the time gone? The 2015 session of the NM Legislature will commence next Tuesday Jan. 20, at noon with the opening session featuring Governor Susana Martinez delivering the State of the State. For the next 60 days, legislators and the executive branch will be wrangling with a great many varied issues, though none will be more important than crafting the FY 16 state budget.

With continued uncertainty over just how much money is available, thanks to shrinking oil and gas revenues, coupled with new leadership in the House of Representatives, the upcoming budget process promises to be lively. Both the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) have submitted budget recommendations based on December revenue projections, but these numbers likely will not hold. Financial analysts will come up with new recommendations next month.

In the meantime, the following gives you an idea of what the governor and legislators are thinking when it comes to funding for UNM. Again, don’t get too invested in these numbers as new dollars could be evaporating by mid-session.

The LFC recommendations provide $6,675,300 in new I&G (instruction and general) dollars for UNM main campus, the School of Medicine and the branches. Among its featured provisions are $905,000 for HSC residencies, a $7 million recurring increase for Medicaid and $5 million in non-recurring funds for a Higher Education Endowment Fund.

The executive recommendations provide $3,072,300 in new I&G dollars for UNM main campus, the School of Medicine and the Branches.    Among its recurring features are $900,000 in additional funds for HSC residencies, $1 million for the Technology Research Collaborative, and $32 million for Medicaid. The governor is also recommending $2.5 million for a reformed Higher Education Endowment fund and $6.5 million in Lottery Scholarship funding “to ensure nearly full funding of the scholarship for the next three semesters.”

Tracking Bills
For the past month, legislators have been pre-filing proposed legislation that will be considered during the 60-day session. At last count, they’ve submitted nearly 300 bills. UNM is tracking fully a third of those, as they have consequences for the main campus, HSC, Human Resources or retirement, the budget or higher ed in general.

You can keep apprised of the bills we’re following on the UNM Bill Tracker, which can be found on the Office of Government and Community Relations website at govrel.unm.edu. We’d also appreciate you encouraging friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to sign up for these near-daily updates. Our goal is to unmuddle the process and provide the info you’ll need to navigate the 2015 legislative session.