Richardson orders furloughs to deal with budget

By Barry Massey: The Associated Press

SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson has ordered five furlough days for workers in executive branch agencies under his control.

Richardson made the announcement as he signed bills Thursday to help the state deal with a $650 million budget shortfall.

The governor signed a budget-cutting bill but used his line-item veto powers to reject a provision that would have required administration agencies to cut spending by 7.6 percent and eliminate 102 political appointees.

Richardson said he will administratively impose spending cuts on his agencies that will average 7 percent.

The governor said the deficit reduction package, after his vetoes, will save $470 million. The Legislature approved a more than $500 million package of spending cuts and one-time budget fixes — such as raiding programs’ cash balances.