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House Passes Budget With $300 Million for Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund

Updated: Feb 1

Bipartisan Investment in Land & Water Conservation, Agriculture & Outdoor Recreation Projects Now Heads to the Senate




 

Santa Fe, N.M. – Jan. 31, 2024 - Today the coalition supporting the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund released the following statement after the New Mexico state House of Representatives voted to approve HB2, the General Appropriation Act of 2024, which contained a $300 million appropriation for the state’s first dedicated and long-term funding stream for land and water conservation, agriculture and outdoor recreation projects.  

 

“Acequias have been the lifeblood of New Mexico for centuries, and these investments will help unlock much-needed state and federal funding opportunities for our communities,” said Ralph Vigil, chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission. “We thank House leaders for increasing investments to the Legacy Fund to a higher, self-sustaining level so it can assist acequia programs throughout the state, support the health of our watersheds and protect the working lands of our traditional communities.” 

 

“We’re grateful that House budget leaders are recognizing the value that the Legacy Fund will bring to New Mexico - particularly to our agricultural communities,” said Gillian Joyce, executive director for Alianza Agri-Cultura de Taos and government relations representative for Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “The Legacy Fund enjoys widespread support among the agricultural community of New Mexico because it provides needed support for our farmers, ranchers and landowners, creates exciting opportunities for our rural economies, invests in the health of our lands and waters, and allows us to better leverage federal funds in the Farm Bill. It’s exciting to see the legislature seize the opportunity before us to make this historic investment for our communities.”

 

The $300 million investment for the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund in HB2 matches the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC)’s recommendation, announced on Jan. 5. 

 

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

 

For more information visit www.enchantmentfund.org

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