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$300 Million for Legacy Fund Endorsed by Key House Committee

Historic Investment in Land & Water Conservation, Agriculture & Outdoor Recreation Projects On Track to Pass Full House


Santa Fe, N.M. – Jan. 29, 2024 - Today the coalition supporting the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund released the following statement after the House Appropriations & Finance Committee voted to approve HB2, the General Appropriation Act of 2024, which contained a $300 million appropriation for the Fund, which is the state’s first dedicated and long-term funding stream for land and water conservation.  


“A sizable investment in the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund will result in healthier rivers and watersheds, preserve working lands for future generations, and create more jobs in a growing restoration-based workforce,” said Dan Roper, New Mexico Program Lead, Trout Unlimited. “We applaud Chairman Small and this committee for prioritizing budget surplus dollars in such a smart way to benefit our land, water, economy and culture.” 


“This historic investment made by House budget leaders and championed by Chairman Small will benefit New Mexicans in every county for generations to come,” said Patrick Nolan, executive director of Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. “Whether it’s improving our outdoor recreation infrastructure through the Trails+ grants program or helping get thousands of New Mexico youth to fall in love with the outdoors through the Outdoor Equity Fund, the Legacy Fund is an investment all New Mexicans can and should be excited about.”


The $300 million investment in HB2 matches the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC)’s recommendation, announced on Jan. 5, and is close to the $250 million figure recommended by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in her executive budgetannounced on Jan. 4. 


The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund is made up of two investment strategies. The first, an Expendable Fund, received a one-time appropriation of $50 million in the 2023 legislative session and will distribute $12.5 million annually to existing state programs beginning July 1, 2024. A second Investment Fund, also called the Conservation Permanent Legacy Fund, was established with an additional $50 million appropriation to distribute through the Expendable Fund each year once it accrues sufficient interest. The Investment Fund/Conservation Permanent Legacy Fund is managed by the State Investment Council and modeled after the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund. 


A new appropriation of $300 million in FY2025 would bring the Investment Fund/Conservation Permanent Legacy Fund balance up to $350 million - the minimum investment level that supporters have advocated for.  According to an early analysis from the State Investment Council, this investment could: 


  • Protect the funds from future market volatility 

  • Sustain current funding levels for the ten agency programs until at least FY31

  • Double the annual funding available to New Mexico communities under the Expendable Fund in 20 years

  • Grow the balance of the Investment Fund to $460 million by FY50

  • Bring in hundreds of millions of additional dollars through federal matching grants


The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund was established by the passage of Senate Bill 9, which was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on March 23, 2023. It was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Senator Steven Neville and House Appropriations Chairman Nathan Small after five years of bipartisan negotiations among advocates, legislators and state agencies.


An interactive map of past projects completed by programs under the Legacy Fund is available here and county-by-county breakdowns are available here


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