Friday, March 17, 2006

Richardson balances a responsible budget, unlike George W. Bush

Yesterday, Senate Republicans voted to increase the limit on the national debt by $781 billion. The federal debt is now nearly $9 trillion. It is the fourth largest debt increase in history. The Bush Administration has now increased the federal debt limit by 53%, $3 trillion, since 2001. By 2011, the President's budget would increase the debt to $11.8 trillion.

President George W. Bush rather pass on the national debt to future generations and continue giving tax cuts to the rich. On the flip side, Governor Bill Richardson has successfully found a formula to provide tax cuts, invest in the future and secure budget surpluses.

Last week, Governor Richardson signed a $5.1 billion budget after taking fiscally responsible steps to restore the state’s budget surplus to a more prudent level. Governor Richardson also signed capital spending bills that invest more than $840 million in economic development, water, education and health care.

“I came into this session vowing to make bold investments – with a focus on children, and we did that,” Governor Richardson said. “I signed bills that increase children’s access to health care, build modern new schools in high-growth communities, create more opportunities to attend Pre-Kindergarten, ensure healthy breakfasts and quality physical education in elementary schools and protect kids against the ravages of meth.

In order to balance the budget and get reserves to 10 percent, Governor Richardson vetoed $268 million from all three spending bills. Of that, the Governor vetoed $52.8 million dollars in capital funding. Those vetoes were spread among all legislative districts. The Governor vetoed about $2 million of his own projects to help balance the budget and increase reserve levels.

“I was forced to make tough decisions to reach those goals because the Legislature overspent, leaving our reserves at barely 5 percent,” Governor Richardson said. “As a result, using my veto pen, I have saved taxpayers $268 million dollars and pared back spending to responsible levels, leaving a balanced budget and a budget surplus of more than $500 million dollars. Our fiscal house is in order.

“I said before the session, after the session, and I’m saying today – we can invest in children, invest in our future and still be fiscally responsible,” Governor Richardson said. “That’s why I insisted on keeping at least 10 percent of taxpayer’s money in the bank.


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