Schools Spared in Budget Proposal

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson proposes to use $135 million in short-term bond proceeds for government operations to help plug a budget deficit.

The proposal is part of $444 million deficit reduction plan the governor outlined Tuesday to a group of legislators. The meeting was to prepare for a special legislative session, which likely will be held next month.

Richardson proposes to cut spending by 3 percent, except for public schools. Short-term bond proceeds would pay for government programs rather than capital improvement projects. The governor says about $91 million in federal economic stimulus money can help schools avoid budget cuts.

Richardson proposes to cancel capital improvement projects, delay increases for a retiree health care program and tap into cash balances held by agencies.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.