Richardson Changes Course: Proposes Education Cut

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson has proposed a 1.5 percent cut in education spending as New Mexico lawmakers decide how to plug a $650 million hole in this year's state budget.

The proposal on Saturday to cut public schools and colleges by more than $40 million was a turnabout for the governor. He had previously said he wouldn't touch education.

Richardson says his revised proposal reflects the reality of the state's budget problems.

Richardson also made it clear as a special session got under way that he doesn't want any tax increases to be considered. He says that can wait until the regular session in January.

But some lawmakers are pushing various tax measures anyway. Bills introduced included increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes and a hike in income tax on the state's wealthiest residents.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.