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NEW MEXICO STATE REPRESENTATIVE DOREEN GALLEGOS

Junior spending bill has important place, but needs transparency

Posted

Much has been written lately about the supplemental appropriation bill (SB48) that’s referred to as “House Bill 2 Jr.” in the Legislature. This bill is often the only opportunity for legislators to fund programs, small projects or small purchases in our respective districts. We can fund larger capital projects in separate legislation but “House Bill 2 Jr.” is the opportunity to provide other resources to our constituents. This is important for our rural areas and colonias in Doña Ana County.

I reject the notion that these appropriations are not well vetted. I work closely with locally elected officials who are in the best position to advise me on the critical needs in their communities. They give me details on the needs and often help with specific language in the appropriation requests so that no errors are made. It is this direct dialogue and input that ensures the projects are vetted and needed. Additionally, the professional staff of the Legislative Finance Committee provides their expertise on many of the appropriation requests throughout the process. All the appropriation requests are combined into a bill that is printed, published and available to anyone who wishes to read it. Afterward, those funded programs or projects are monitored by various agencies in state government.

One aspect that is lacking in this process is transparency. There is not an accompanying spreadsheet of sponsor funded requests to the “House Bill 2 Jr.” bill as there is for capital outlay bill and those projects. This should change. I support that change and so do my colleagues in the House. I believe the House will act to correct this problem when we meet in Special Session on April 5. In the spirit of transparency, however, I funded the following projects in “House Bill 2 Jr.”

      $80,000 to the Anthony Police Department for equipment

      $50,0000 to the Anthony Library

      $50,000 to Doña Ana County for backup generators for wastewater systems in Anthony/Vado/Berino

      $50,0000 to expand to Las Cruces the Domestic Violence Coordinate Community Response staff at CYFD

      $80,000 for a senior women’s athletics coordinator at NMSU

      $50,000 warrant enforcement staff support at the 3rd Judicial District Court

My capital outlay projects (SB212), along with all other legislators’ allocations, can be found on the legislative website at this link: SFC SUB SB212 Projects with Sponsor by County WGA, 2022.pdf (nmlegis.gov).

Make no mistake, the current capital outlay and “House Bill 2 Jr.” process might not be perfect, but it guarantees that rural New Mexico and Doña Ana County receive some amount of funding that we deserve as taxpayers. I am proud of the dollars I have brought home to Doña Ana County and House District 52. These dollars generate spending, creates jobs and improves the quality of life to New Mexicans.

Doreen Gallegos, a Democrat, was elected to represent New Mexico House of Representatives District 52 in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. She is a candidate for re-election in 2022. She is majority whip in the New Mexico House.

Doreen Gallegos