Many Cooks In The Kitchen When It Comes To Passing A State Budget

Jan 24, 2014

Doland says passing a budget is like making pasta. There are many recipes but the trick is that lawmakers and the governor must compromise, merge recipes and serve up a hot meal.
Credit WikiMedia Commons


 The New Mexico State Legislature convened for a 30-day session this week and for three more weeks lawmakers will be focusing mainly on how to divvy up about $6 billion in state money for state agencies and programs.

The majority of those funds will be appropriated to education and healthcare.

In legislative sessions it often seems like not a lot happens and then at the end there's a flurry of action, and sometimes it's hard to determine what decisions were made and when.

We asked reporter Gwyneth Doland, who's covering the session this year for New Mexico PBS, to help us understand why this process of deciding where our dollars go feels so enigmatic to the average citizen.

"If we want to use a food metaphor, I would say that New Mexicans are a cafeteria full of hungry people," Doland explains. "They have needs and they are waiting for the announcement of what this meal is going to be. But they actually are very ignorant of what is going on in the kitchen because there are no doors, there are no windows.  They really have a limited view of the how the budget is made and what the negotiations are between the chefs."