N.M. Governor Vetoes All Higher Education Funding

April 18, 2017

New Mexico's governor has vetoed all public higher education funding in a standoff with the state's Legislature over tax increases and spending, The Washington Post reported.

The move by Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican, to eliminate $745 million in planned state contributions to the state's colleges and universities appears to be a game of chicken, where one side will blink eventually. But it's unclear how the situation will resolve or how much damage New Mexico's institutions may sustain during the fracas. The fiscal year in question begins in July.

Higher education leaders at the state's seven public four-year universities last week wrote to Martinez to urge her to reinstate the funding, the Albuquerque Journal reported. They said the financial instability could hurt students, faculty, economic development and the universities' accreditation status.

“The message the veto sent to our 133,505 registered students and their families, while unintended, leaves them confused and wondering whether they should enroll in a New Mexico college, whether they’ll be able to finish their degree or whether they’ll be able to graduate," they wrote. "While we are trying to calm their fears, there is concern that many of our state’s brightest students will move to other states to pursue their higher education."

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