House Committee Approves Budget

New Mexico – A proposed budget to spend $5.4 billion next year on public education and government programs is heading to the House for consideration.

The Appropriations and Finance Committee endorsed the measure Friday on a party-line 10-7 vote, with Republicans opposing it.

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says the budget shortchanges several programs, such as Medicaid. Finance and Administration Secretary Rick May told the committee that prisons in Roswell and Springer might be closed without more money for the Corrections Department.

The budget cuts state spending by about $180 million, or 3 percent, from this year.

The measure provides almost $2.4 billion for public education, a reduction of nearly 2 percent from this year.

The House is expected to debate and vote on the proposed budget early next week.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.