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New Mexico Legislature races to approve bills in final hours

March 20, 2021 GMT
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Security fencing encircling the New Mexico State Capitol building in Santa Fe, N.M., Friday, March 19, 2021. In the final hours of a 60-day legislation as a precaution in the wake of the January siege of the U.S. Capitol in January. The New Mexico Legislature was rushing to send final bills to the governor before the end of the annual legislative session at noon on Saturday, March 20. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
1 of 8
Security fencing encircling the New Mexico State Capitol building in Santa Fe, N.M., Friday, March 19, 2021. In the final hours of a 60-day legislation as a precaution in the wake of the January siege of the U.S. Capitol in January. The New Mexico Legislature was rushing to send final bills to the governor before the end of the annual legislative session at noon on Saturday, March 20. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislators raced against the clock Friday to provide final approval to major initiatives, from increased tax breaks for working families to the final touches on a $7.45 billion budget.

The Legislature has until noon on Saturday to send bills to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration.

The state House of Representative signed off on Senate amendments to a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1.

The bill increases general fund spending by nearly 5% to bolster public school education, environmental oversight and public salaries at state agencies and schools. Lujan Grisham can veto any provisions, though the legislation addresses most of her spending priorities.

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The state Senate endorsed up to $73 million in annual tax breaks through an expansion of the state working families tax credit and earned income tax credit. Final House endorsement was pending.

Income tax rate increases on high earners were stripped from the bill during the committee vetting process.

“It wasn’t the right time during COVID to raise taxes,” said Sen. George Muñoz, chairman of the Senate budget committee.