In the summer and fall of each year, the state legislature drafts state budget recommendations that it will present in the upcoming legislative session. This is a critical process because the ways resources are allocated can either amplify or limit the agencies and programs that protect our lands, air, water and quality of life.
Agencies that rely on funding from this process include the Environment Department (NMED), Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD), the Outdoor Recreation Division (ORD), and more. All of these departments need adequate funding to fully live their mission, hire and retain expert staff to hold polluters accountable, and ensure resources fully protect the Land of Enchantment.
This year, New Mexico is projected to have a $3.48 billion dollar windfall above average revenue. Right now, legislators have a unique opportunity to invest additional resources in ways that meet agency needs and maximize our ability to leverage them for future efforts. As the Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee, Senator George Muñoz, has said, “we need to see past the dollar signs and focus on planning for the future because these high-revenue years won’t last.”
CVNM is engaging in the budget development process this year to advocate for:
- Full funding for the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund (LOELF) and Conservation Legacy Permanent Fund (CLPF). Enacted during the 2023 legislative session, these funds received initial dollars to support critical programs across the state to protect and restore our lands, water, wildlife and cultural heritage. Each fund, however, only received $50 million ($100 million total between the two) – which falls short of the minimum $350 million needed to ensure New Mexico has funding for conservation projects in perpetuity. Additional funds allocated from this windfall year will ensure that the Legacy and Permanent funds can operate fully and effectively for future generations.
- Full funding for NMED, EMNRD, and ORD to ensure our regulating agencies have the staffing and resources needed to implement the Governor’s climate Executive Order (EO), 30×30 EO, and economic diversification goals.
- Funding extension for the Strategic Water Reserve. The initial investment from the 2023 session into the Strategic Water Reserve was much needed for the state to take advantage of the opportunity to temporarily or permanently purchase water leases from willing sellers. However, in order to do their due diligence before purchases take place, the Interstate Stream Commission needs more time to utilize this funding.
- Funding for Just Economic Transition. New Mexico established a Sustainable Economy Task Force charged with developing a strategic plan to transition the state economy away from reliance on natural resource extraction. In previous sessions, the coalition Power4NM has advocated for funding to support this effort, and resources to establish a state Economic Transition Division dedicated to implementing this vision. Although some funding has been allocated for this in recent sessions, much more is needed to fully implement this effort.
- Initiatives that maximize Inflation Reduction Act and other federal monies. Federal dollars like those now available through the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act are subject to competitive grants and fund availability. One of the biggest ways New Mexico can remain competitive in the grant process for federal funds is maximizing state matching funds, and programs that double down on strategies that invest in renewable energy and efficiency. New Mexico cannot afford to leave federal funding on the table.