Budget passes through House

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In an update from Rep. Don Tripp in Santa Fe, he said the House has passed the state budget.
“We did pass the budget out with a few amendments,” Tripp said. “There is some educational reform in it.”
Tripp said there is $3 million included in the budget for merit pay for teachers. The merit pay will partially be based on student outcome, but many other factors have to be considered as well, he said.
Early childhood programs are slated for a 40 percent increase in the budget, he said, to address early childhood issues.
Also added to education is money to promote early reading initiatives. Read to Lead gained funding.
“All these items are below the line, which makes it more accountable,” Tripp said.
“Above the line” funding flows through the state equalization formula while “below the line” funding is distributed to specific initiatives through a grant process.
A 1 percent raise is included in the budget for state and school employees, including teachers. Also state public safety employees are slated for a 3 percent raise.
Money has also been added to the budget for retirement swaps at 3/4 of a percent to shore up retirement funds, he said.
At this point the budget has passed out of the House and goes to the Senate, Tripp said. The Senate will amend it, move some money around and send it back to the House for concurrence.
“If we concur, it goes to the governor,” he said. “If we don’t accept their amendments, we tell them and it goes to conference committee. But chances are we will accept it. There is not a lot of disconnect.”
Tripp said the House and Senate work together on the budget, convening interim, or between sessions, to discuss budget issues.