Richardson Announces Furloughs, Other Cuts

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson is ordering five unpaid furlough days for more than 19,000 workers in executive branch agencies.

Richardson made the announcement as he signed bills Thursday to help the state deal with a $650 million budget shortfall.

The governor signed a budget-cutting bill but vetoed a provision requiring administration agencies to cut spending by 7.6 percent. Richardson said that was too much.

The governor administratively is reducing agency budgets by $79 million or about 3.3 percent. Combined with previous cuts, executive branch agency spending will be 7 percent lower than in the last fiscal year. The governor also will eliminate the jobs of 84 political appointees.

The deficit reduction package, after Richardson's vetoes, will save $470 million.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.