Richardson Announces Layoffs

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson's administration is laying off 59 appointive state government employees to help solve a budget shortfall.

The governor's office announced Wednesday that workers have been told their jobs are eliminated effective Jan. 8. That will save about $8 million in the current budget year

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos says the job losses will occur in about 20 agencies, but he does not have a breakdown of the cuts.

With the layoffs, 106 appointive positions will be vacant, which is about 20 percent of those under the governor's control.

Richardson announced last month he planned layoffs of political appointees to help balance the budget. The Legislature approved a deficit-reduction package in October to partially plug a $650 million budget shortfall.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.