Smith Warns Budget Woes Will Continue

New Mexico – A legislative budget leader says "serious surgery" will be required on state government operations because of continuing budget problems and a slow economic recovery.

Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Deming Democrat, made the comment Thursday as the Legislative Finance Committee received conflicting reports on whether the state' revenue collections are on target for the current budget year.

The LFC estimates that revenues so far are running short of what was anticipated this year. However, the Taxation and Revenue Department told lawmakers that revenues are tracking ahead of what had been projected.

Smith, vice chairman of LFC, said budget problems will continue in coming years because New Mexico must replace more than $300 million in federal economic stimulus money that's paying for state government operations.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.