- Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A leading Democratic lawmaker says New Mexico may need an additional $200 million or more to address a budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year and rebuild reserves enough to protect its credit rating.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith of Deming on Monday warned of a budget gap between $200 million and $250 million for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Closing that gap would leave the state with reserves of about 4 percent of annual general fund spending. Lawmakers are in the midst of drafting a new budget plan amid wrangling over whether to raise tax income, cut deeper into state spending or both.

Lawmakers recently approved a $190 million solvency package to close a current year deficit with cash from school districts and many state accounts.

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