- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on New Mexico’s forecast for state finances (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

State economists say New Mexico is likely to collect far less revenue than previously expected this budget year and next as employment, wages and economic growth lag.

Economists from three executive agencies and the Legislature on Monday revised downward figures for the state’s annual revenue stream by $131 million to $5.6 billion for the current fiscal year, and by $127 million for the fiscal year starting in July. The new revenue estimates set a benchmark for state lawmakers who will meet in January to shore up state finances and craft a new budget.

The state’s budget crisis has spilled over into the courts, where public defenders say they cannot keep up with caseloads, as other state agencies and public universities grapple with one-year spending cuts as high as 8 percent.

The new state revenue forecast indicates spending is likely to outstrip operating reserves by $69 million during the current fiscal year. Recurring revenues are expected to rebound next year and still fall $93 million short of current spending.

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3:00 a.m.

Economists for the state of New Mexico are revising downward estimates for how much money state government will have available as lawmakers begin crafting a new budget.

Economists from three executive agencies and the Legislature will release on Monday estimates of general fund revenue for the current and upcoming fiscal years.

Tax collections from the three months ending on Sept. 30 suggest the state’s budget crisis is deepening. Revenue streams decreased by 9.4 percent to $1.3 billion compared with the same period in 2015.

Spending at most state agencies for the current fiscal year was cut by 5.5 percent during a special legislative session that concluded in October. New Mexico has nearly depleted general fund reserves, prompting a downgrade in the state’s credit rating.

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