Panel To Consider Higher Permanent Fund Payout

Feb 6, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Senate panel has endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide more than $100 million for early childhood education.

The proposal by Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, a Belen Democrat, would increase yearly payouts from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to help finance early childhood programs.

The Rules Committee approved the measure on a 5-4 party-line vote yesterday, with Republicans in opposition.

A coalition of religious, education and social advocacy groups backs the proposal.

Opponents contend that higher payouts would slow the fund's growth, providing less revenue for future generations.

Proponents have commissioned a private study that says the fund would continue to grow even with higher distributions.

Voters would decide whether to adopt the proposal if lawmakers agree to place it on the general election ballot.