Rep. Says Outlook Not Good For Behavioral Health Funding

MARISA DEMARCO / KUNM

MARISA DEMARCO / KUNM

  •  Marisa Demarco
  •  Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In the final days of the 2016 session, lawmakers are trying to figure out how to deal with a tight budget caused by plummeting oil and gas prices.

Rep. Doreen Gallegos of Las Cruces has been a social worker for two decades.  She said she can see the need for services in her corner of the state—especially in the last couple of years after the behavioral health shakeup. She’s hashing out the budget on the House Appropriations Committee.

“There are huge holes in the budget. We can’t recover. Our citizens can’t recover. And they can’t be in recovery,” she said. “Overall, the budget is a mess.”

Gallegos said she’s concerned that behavioral health funding is getting stuck at the administrative level, not trickling down to people who need it. It’s going to take some work to rebound from the shakeup, she added, and it might not happen this year. She says holding the line might be the best they can do.

The session is slated to end Thursday, but folks in the Roundhouse are speculating about whether a special session will have to be called to finish up the budget.

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