SANTA FE -- Governor Bill Richardson delivered the 2009 State of the State address today to a joint-session of the Legislature. The address kicked off the 60-day session.
Governor Richardson’s prepared remarks:
Lt. Governor Denish, Speaker Ben Lujan, Senate President Pro Tem Jennings,
Chief Justice Ed Chavez and members of the state Supreme Court,
Pueblo Governors and former Governors,
Distinguished guests and my wife First Lady Barbara Richardson.
Democratic and Republican leaders, members of our state House of Representatives and Senate;
Welcome to our new legislators and welcome back to our returning reformers, congratulations to you both on your electoral victories.
Before we start, I'd like to take a moment to recognize someone who's not here today. This year, we lost a true champion for our children, former First Lady Alice King. I hope we will remember her legacy, by never forgetting the needs of New Mexico's kids.
Now I know there are some legislators who were looking forward to my departure, and not having to deal with me this session. I’m sorry to disappoint. I’ll try to make it up to you somehow.
Before I talk about New Mexico, I want to take a moment to recognize this historic moment in Washington. Our nation has a new president, the first African-American elected to our highest office, and has kept a promise made long ago---
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
On behalf of my fellow New Mexicans, I wish our new president and his administration every success, and join the rest of our nation in celebrating this new beginning for America.
Today, this state faces a new challenge—the biggest global financial crisis of our lifetime. A cold financial winter has come, and our state faces a serious budget shortfall. This economic crisis is not of our making, nevertheless it is ours to solve. This is our task, and our test. Let us be equal to it. Let's recognize that for the past six years, we've made the wise choices to prepare for such a winter.
First, we balanced the budget every year, invested in our priorities of education, health care and job creation, increased state revenue by nearly $2 billion dollars—and returned over $1 billion in tax-cuts to working families.
Second, we put more than $400 million dollars into our rainy-day fund and went from a 6% operating reserve to an average 13 percent reserve.