consensus among the Legislature -- House and Senate -- and when it gets up to
the governor, if there are any vetoes they will be minimal line-item vetoes."
Don't be fooled by the small number, however. Reaching a budget agreement on how and where to cut -- or whether the state needs to cut that deeply -- will likely stretch over the entire 60 days of this year's regular session, if not longer.
One possible sticking point: whether to include public-school teachers in sharing some of the pain. Unlike the LFC, Martinez exempted teachers from contributing more toward their retirement.
Also, while there's no concerted push for increasing the state's broad-based taxes, look for the perennial dust-up over whether to mix in a few tax-side solutions with the cost-saving measures. Some state lawmakers want to rummage through New Mexico's tax code in hopes of finding unexpected dollars. Reducing or eliminating some tax credits, exemptions or deductions would generate much-needed revenue at a time of great economic need, they say.
Martinez, however, isn't receptive. The only exception to her no-tax-increase mantra so far has been to take aim at the state's controversial film-production tax credit. She wants to cut it, saying it would save $25 million. While some say the governor opened the door to a broader tax discussion by targeting the film-production tax credit, she says she hasn't.
Martinez so far has left little to the imagination on how she sees the government's current role in relation to the environment.
She wants to trim the Environment Department by $3 million, taking it from a $14.2 million agency to $11.2 million, a much bigger cut than the $800,000 the Legislature suggested.
That might not seem like that much money, but in some ways the agency's budget is part of an emerging skirmish in what appears to be a much broader war.
She also proposes a $1.3 million cut in the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, with half a million coming out of the State Parks budget.
Martinez wants to reduce money for litigation and water-rights adjudications in the State Engineer's Office by more than 50 percent.
One of Martinez's first acts after taking the oath of office was to issue an executive order to stop the publication of recently approved rules in the New Mexico Register. The rules must be published for them to take effect. Martinez wants 90 days for staff to review rules such as the cap on carbon emissions approved by the Environmental Improvement Board -- whose members she dismissed.
The New Mexico Environmental Law Center has challenged the governor's right to stop publication of approved rules. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear one of the petitions Jan. 26.
Martinez then shook up environmentalists by appointing as her Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources secretary ex-astronaut and former U.S. Sen. Harrison Schmitt, who publicly has stated his belief that any climate change is natural, not man-made. If confirmed by the Senate for the Cabinet post, Schmitt will have control over agencies that monitor and regulate mining and oil and gas drilling.
Legislation that environmentalists and industry will be watching for: a move to wrest away the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas
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