New Mexico predicts robust growth in state government revenues

SANTA FE, NM (AP) – The forecast for state government revenue has risen slightly as New Mexico lawmakers prepare to meet in January to develop a general fund budget.

The state’s top tax official and the legislature’s chief economist told a panel of lawmakers on Monday that state revenues are expected to exceed already strong expectations by at least $ 28 million for the fiscal year beginning in July 2022.

This adds slightly to a projected surplus of $ 1.4 billion in general state fund revenue over current annual spending obligations.

The estimate has implications for public school finances, health care subsidies, public worker salaries, public safety, and more.

“The good news is that we are getting closer to the upside. … Jobs, wages and salaries, these things are recovering, ”said Ismael Torres, chief economist of the Legislative Budget and Accountability office.

State revenues are expected to increase 9% to $ 8.84 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, from $ 8.1 billion for the current fiscal year.

Tax and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke said the economic recovery has been limited for working poor and less educated. She underscored the continued importance of financial safety net programs.

“Low-wage workers who probably had the least savings before the pandemic still suffered a loss of wages of around 5%,” she said.

Gradual changes to the state’s tax code that favor low-income households are for the first time eating into the state’s general fund budget.

Earlier this year, lawmakers expanded the state’s working family tax credit and the block tax refund for low-income people. Early estimates showed the state would forgo around $ 74 million in annual revenue as a result.

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