Advocates-Budget-Guide-coverDownload the full advocate’s guide (updated Aug. 2009; 36 pages; pdf)


This guide is designed as a companion to the Citizen’s Guide to the New Mexico State Budget, which provides a description of the budget development and appropriation process. As that guide explains, the state’s budget falls into two categories—the operating budget and the capital budget. The operating budget pays for state programs and services. The capital budget pays for capital outlay projects such as building new schools. This guide deals only with the operating budget, and particularly those programs and projects funded by the general fund.

The operating and capital budgets support the state’s “direct” spending. The state also spends money indirectly by granting credits, deductions and exemptions from the tax code. Many tax expenditures are put in place as economic incentives, others help low-income families and seniors. The state is not required to keep track of the cumulative cots of these expenditures—even though 2008 estimates showed that the state spent about $5 billion this way.

This guide is written for people who are interested in advocating for general fund monies to use for operating and programmatic purposes. If you’re interested in getting state funding to physically build something in your community—say, a community center or a new park—that money would have to come from the capital budget. Advocating for funds from the capital budget is a very different process, and is not covered in this guide. But if you want the Legislature to fund a community program, such as an after–school program at an existing community center, then this guide is for you.

Download the full advocate’s guide (updated Aug. 2009; 36 pages; pdf)
Link to the Citizen’s Guide to Legislative Advocacy
Link to the Citizen’s Guide to the New Mexico State Budget
Link to the Citizen’s Guide to New Mexico’s Tax System

The Fiscal Policy Project, a program of New Mexico Voices for Children, is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.