- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on a state budget crisis in New Mexico (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

A top budget negotiator in the New Mexico House of Representatives says a dire revenue forecast for the coming fiscal year remains unchanged after a review by state economists.

House Appropriations and Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Lundstrom told the Associated Press on Wednesday that a new revenue estimate from economists at four agencies leaves a $125 million shortfall for the state to maintain current services.

The Democrat from Gallup says closing that gap would require an additional 2 percent overall cut to agency spending if no new taxes or other revenues are approved for the budget year starting July 1.



The state is struggling to pay its bills and sustain basic government programs amid plunging tax revenues tied to a downturn in the oil sector and a sluggish overall economy.

___

3 a.m.

New Mexico state lawmakers are bracing for an update on how much money will be available in the coming fiscal year to fund state government.

Democratic state Sen. John Arthur Smith says he is scheduled Wednesday to receive a new forecast of expected revenues from taxes, fees and other sources.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee warned earlier this week that the state may need to fill a budget gap of $250 million in order to rebuild reserves and protect the state’s credit rating.

Amid a downturn in the local oil sector, New Mexico has cut back spending at most agencies and has swept cash from school district reserves and other government accounts.

Gov. Susana Martinez has urged lawmakers to avoid tax increases and to tighten government spending.

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