By Associated Press - Monday, February 1, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Republican lawmakers are spurning a proposal to tap New Mexico’s largest permanent reserve fund to boost spending on early childhood education programs.

The proposed constitutional amendment to divert funds from the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent Fund was voted down Monday by the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee in a 6-5 party-line vote with Republican in opposition.

The latest version of the amendment from Democratic Reps. Javier Martinez and Antonio Maestas would set aside a 0.7 percent annual distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund.

Currently public schools, state universities and other beneficiaries receive a 5.5 percent annual distribution from the $14.5 billion fund. That drops to 5 percent starting in July.

The fund receives royalties from oil and natural gas production and other income from state lands.

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