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NM public bank oversight panel sets agenda for the rest of 2023


NM public bank oversight panel sets agenda for the rest of 2023

Jun 02, 2023 | 6:30 am ET
By Austin Fisher
NM public bank oversight panel sets agenda for the rest of 2023
Members of a flood-damaged acequia clear the irrigation channel during the annual cleaning April 8 in the burn scar of the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire. Acequias are one of many public entities that can borrow money at low rates from the NMFA. (Photo by Patrick Lohmann / Source NM)

A legislative panel overseeing New Mexico’s public bank set its agenda for the rest of the year.

The 32-member New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) Oversight Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve its 2023 Work Plan, which will guide the topics it discusses leading up to the next legislative session in January 2024.

NMFA is a state agency whose purpose is to coordinate the planning and financing of public projects.

The agency is primarily responsible for lending and providing grants from a pot of money called the Public Project Revolving Loan Fund. According to its website, it has loaned out $4.52 billion from this fund since it was created.

During the 2023 interim, the committee will hear reports from state agencies it either oversees or that receive money from NMFA, including; 

Vice chair Sen. Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque) said he wants the committee to do a deep dive into the state’s capital outlay process, which is one way the state funds the purchase or maintenance of land, buildings, machinery, furniture and equipment for use by the public.

Other lawmakers on the committee agreed. Sen. Nancy Rodriguez (D-Santa Fe) suggested creating a single office to help move capital outlay projects along and figure out why so many projects are stalled.

There are $3.1 billion in unspent capital outlay funds, according to the most recent report from legislative analysts. Earlier this year, lawmakers  set aside $1.2 billion for nearly 1,500 state and local infrastructure projects, the largest capital outlay legislation in the state’s history.

Many local organizations are run by volunteers and often change leadership, said Rep. Susan Herrera (D-Embudo).

“We desperately need a study on this to make it work better,” Herrera said.