State budget crisis hits defendants, museums, colleges
SANTA FE | New Mexico’s grinding budget crisis is taking a toll in courtrooms where overburdened attorneys have denied legal counsel to poor defendants, at museums reeling from layoffs and admission hikes and at state universities and colleges grappling with steep spending cuts.
A prolonged downturn in oil and natural gas markets is squeezing budgets in several states that rely heavily on severance taxes and royalties.
Most New Mexico state agencies already are dealing with spending cuts of 5.5 percent. Now they’re bracing for more belt tightening as state economists prepare to release reduced revenue estimates for the current and coming fiscal year.
The forecast is due Monday and sets the benchmark when legislators meet in January to write a state budget for the coming fiscal year and to fix current shortfalls.