NM Budget Takes Shape

New Mexico – Lawmakers are trying to wrap up a budget-balancing special session.

The House worked past midnight and approved a $5.6 billion budget and a proposal to increase the tax on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack.

The cigarette tax will provide $33 million next year, with a third of the money earmarked for public schools.

The Senate approved a package of tax increases to provide about $200 million to balance the budget. Included is a one-eighth cent increase in the gross receipts tax on goods and services. The bill also will reinstate part of the tax on food and eliminate an income tax deduction for some New Mexicans.

Each chamber must approve the same measures before they go to Gov. Bill Richardson.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.