SANTA FE, N.M. — The Latest on New Mexico’s state budget crisis (all times local):
New Mexico state finances are likely to get a $70 million boost this month after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management rejected environmental protests over oil and gas lease sales.
In an email obtained Friday, the Bureau of Land Management says the state’s share of sale proceeds from a batch of oil leases in southeastern New Mexico should be available by the end of May.
The money would ease financial pressure on New Mexico state government amid a budget crisis. The state is struggling to conserve cash as Gov. Susana Martinez contemplates unpaid furloughs for state workers.
The Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians have expressed numerous environmental concerns about drilling operations under the leases.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and other New Mexico congressional delegates had urged the BLM to resolve the protests quickly.
New Mexico state lawmakers are reluctantly returning to the budget negotiation table with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez as time runs short to restore billions of dollars in vetoed spending for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The state Supreme Court has refused a request by lawmakers to rescind the governor’s vetoes of all funding for the legislative branch and state institutions of higher education.
A special legislative session is set for May 24, with pressure mounting Friday on elected officials to shore up anemic state tax revenues or agree to a new round of spending cuts at state agencies or public schools.
What lies ahead is unclear, as legislators consider competing proposals to clear away tax breaks and hike taxes on everything from groceries to online retail sales.