Richardson Wants Public Comment On Budget Cuts

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson is asking for the public to weigh in on a package of bills passed last week by the Legislature that aims to repair a $650 million budget shortfall.

The governor has 20 days to sign, veto or partially veto the bills.

Lawmakers wrapped up a special session Friday and sent the bills to the governor. The package includes spending cuts of about $253 million this year in public schools, colleges and other government programs.

State agencies were trimmed by at least 2 percent, while the agencies directly under the governor took a much bigger hit at 7.6 percent.

The Legislature's plan also requires the governor to eliminate 102 positions held by political appointees. Not all of those are currently filled.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.