Unfinished jobs show need for capital outlay reform (Alb Jour)

Unfinished jobs show need for capital outlay reform

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Fair or unfair, the legislative session that ended about a month ago has become best known for the failure of the Legislature to pass a capital outlay bill. Since then, numerous organizations – noting that state capital outlay spending spurs economic activity – have urged the governor to call a special session for consideration of a public works package.

They’re right; the economic stimulus would be good for New Mexico.

However, it’s important to remember that hundreds of millions of state capital outlay dollars are already in the pipeline. In fact, between capital dollars earmarked for special programs and discretionary capital outlay funding appropriated in past years but still unspent, the state has nearly a billion dollars in capital outlay funds.

Because certain capital outlay funds are earmarked annually, the state will have nearly $30 million this year for water projects and almost $15 million each for tribal projects and infrastructure in the substandard, semirural communities called colonias.

Another $179 million is designated specifically to public school construction, and Senate Bill 291 reauthorizes about $25 million in capital outlay funds allocated in previous years but unused.

Regrettably, also in the pipeline are hundreds of millions more for projects that have become stuck for one reason or another.

Read more here: http://www.abqjournal.com/575107/opinion/unfinished-jobs-show-need-for-capital-outlay-reform.html