The main job of any legislature any year is to prepare and pass a state budget. The House Appropriations and Finance Committee accomplished its part of the process this morning passing their version of HB 2, the state general appropriations act.

As previously reported, the higher education portion of budget features a six and a half percent “carve out” or “at risk” funding to pay for outcomes-based metrics found in the funding formula. That six and a half percent is cobbled together from approximately nine tenths of a percent new money (close to what the executive recommended) and an approximate five point seven percent adjustment to the current base.  This is recurring funding.

As it heads to the house floor, HB 2 contains a $2.1 million increase in operating funds for UNM. A spot check of program requests finds $175,000 for Project Brain Safe, $75,000 for Degree Mapping, $100,000 for Athletics, $50,000 for Community Based Education (Family Development), $150,000 for Project ECHO and around $900,000 for various medical residencies. The Higher Education Endowment has $5.5 million.

Adding in federal and all other funds, New Mexico has a $18.61 billion budget. The general fund portion of that is $6.2 billion. Reserves are kept at 8 percent. Of the projected $83.1 million in new money, HAFC spent $81.5 million, leaving the remainder for the Senate …or as a former committee chair termed “what the bird left on the limb.”

The budget bill now goes to the full house for consideration. That could happen as soon as Monday.