Senate panel approves budget package

A Senate panel has approved a $6.2 billion budget package and provided additional money for education initiatives of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. 

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously endorsed the budget on Sunday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

 The panel added $17.5 million for administration school programs. Republicans on the committee said the goal was to give the Public Education Department some flexibility to work with school districts on initiatives to improve educational performance. 

The budget provides for a $293 million or 5 percent increase in spending in the fiscal year starting in July. 

The committee's proposal is an attempt to break an impasse over the budget and avoid a possible special session. 

A budget bill failed in the House, with Republicans saying it shortchanged Martinez's school proposals.



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