ACROSS THE BOARD RAISES: Gov. Susana Martinez told New Mexico Watchdog she will not line-item veto 3 percent raises for all state employees from the budget on her desk. NM Watchdog photo.
By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – All state employees in New Mexico are about to get 3 percent raises.
She may not have signed the recently-passed state budget into law yet, but Gov. Susana Martinez told New Mexico Watchdog she will not veto across-the-board 3 percent raises for all teachers and state employees.
“All teachers will get their 3 percent (increases), the classified employees of the state will receive their 3 percent and I don’t intend to disrupt the classified employees in anyway,” Martinez said.
The pay raises are part of a larger budget compromise bill that is on the governor’s desk.
As governor, Martinez has the right to line-item veto specific sections of the budget bill. ”We’re still going over everything line by line,” Martinez said Wednesday but added she would not line-item veto the portion of the budget dealing with pay raises.
Going into the session, the respective budgets from the governor’s office and the Legislative Finance Committee were at odds.
The LFC budget called for pay raises of 1.5 percent for all state employees while the Martinez administration’s budget called for targeted increases instead of across-the-board raises.
State Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, told New Mexico Watchdog on Thursday he wasn’t really surprised that the governor will approve pay increases, “given the fact that revenue forecast is going to be improved by a couple percentage points than what was in the January forecast.”
“There was an agreement there would be some pay raises,” Smith said of the budget deal he was instrumental in crafting after negotiations broke down in the House of Representatives. “My take on the whole thing is, this is an election year. I don’t think she’s a whole lot different than most other politicians on that count.”
Smith said in addition to the 3 percent across-the-board raises, the budget also calls for 6 percent raises for state law enforcement employees, including the Department of Public Safety.
The governor has until March 12 to sign bills the Legislature passed in the 30-day session that ended Feb. 20.
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