Senate backs creation of trust fund for early education

February 5, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Senate has endorsed the creation of a trust fund to underwrite early childhood education and services with future investment returns.

The initiative would set aside $320 million to generate revenue for a variety of early childhood program. The Senate passed the bill Wednesday on 40-0 vote. A companion House bill has yet to reach a vote.

“We’re hoping to establish a long-term, stable revenue stream,” said Democratic Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming, a lead sponsor of the bill. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that we grow this fund significantly.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has openly lobbied for creation of the new trust fund after a proposal stalled last year to increase early childhood spending by tapping more money from the state’s multi-billion dollar Land Grant Permanent Fund.

The state is consolidating oversight of early childhood programs under the oversight of a new agency.