Public asked for their opinion on state's budget cuts
January 06, 2011
Just four days into the Susana Martinez administration, and the Governor is already working hard to trim the state budget. Now New Mexicans are weighing in as well, giving their input to the Rio Grande Foundation about what kinds of cuts they would make. The Rio Grande Foundation heard from more than 2,000 people, on what type of budget cuts they want and how crucial they think those cuts are to new mexico's future. With a 400-million dollar hole to plug, the Martinez administration starts 2011 with a tall order. "Quite frankly, 400 million dollars is nothing to sneeze at. We face real problems and not all of the cuts are going to be popular. And that's something that we really need to realize," said Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation published a study, outlining some ideas for cuts, and then asking the public for its input. "Our state has needs and it's not a business, it's a state. It should be run efficiently, but in the end, we just can't cut the essentials," said Albuquerque resident Angela Chavez Adkins. More than 2,000 people responded to the Foundation's suggestions, which covered a wide variety of cuts—from axing the Rail Runner, to cutting the state work force. Then, people added their own two cents. "Some of them were really I think, sound. Most of them were smaller and more narrowly targeted, like eliminating government agencies and cabinet agencies, that sort of thing," Gessing said. KOB EYEWITNESS NEWS 4 found no shortage of ideas either—many with some common ground. "I don't think that education, health care, or environmental initiatives should be cut at all," said Chavez Adkins. "I would not cut education and medicaid funding," added Beverly Eckel, a former teacher. "The one thing that we have to watch out for is that we don't undercut people who are already financially vulnerable," said Betsy Diaz, a former school councilor. The Rio Grande Foundation has submitted its findings to the Martinez administration. But so far there has been no official response from the Governor.