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      House set to debate $5.9B N.M. budget


      SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico lawmakers are ready to tackle a must-do assignment for the 60-day legislative session.


      The House is expected Thursday to debate a state budget proposal that will allocate nearly $5.9 billion next year for government programs and public education.


      The measure will increase state spending by $239 million or slightly more than 4 percent.


      About $35 million is provided for 1 percent pay raises for state workers and educators and 3 percent for state police. It will be the first across-the-board salary increase for public employees since 2008.


      The proposed budget will increase spending $22 million on early childhood initiatives, including pre-kindergarten, child care assistance to low-income families and a program extending the school year for students in kindergarten through third grade in schools serving high-poverty areas.


      (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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