House GOP instructs Legislative Council to publish Capital Outlay expenditures on web

Santa Fe, NM– The 2020 Legislative session wrapped up just a week ago and many bills are awaiting action by the Governor. Somewhere in the cache of legislation on the Governor’s desk are the familiar, yet not so transparent legislative capital outlay expenditures. For the second year running, the House Republican caucus has instructed the Legislative Council to publish GOP lawmaker’s funded capital outlay expenditures and dollar amounts on the Legislature’s website. Representatives Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena), Rebecca Dow (R-T or C) and Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho) each co-sponsored transparency legislation aimed at clarifying for the public the capital outlay process.

“Much of our capital outlay funding directly supports local needs that might otherwise fall through the cracks in the rush of the session.” said Rep. Gail Armstrong, “Making this information public is a bipartisan effort, and I will continue to push for legislation to make the process more transparent.”

Capital outlay has long been a tool for legislators to deliver state funding to projects within their districts that would otherwise be waitlisted for funding in future budget discussions. The list of expenditures is published on the Legislature’s website however, it is not publicly shared which legislator funded each project.

“I am positive that publishing this information will help the public understand and appreciate that House Republicans are focused on ensuring our communities are not overlooked,” said Rep. Dow, “This year there were several measures that would have helped streamline the capital outlay process, unfortunately they were never taken up in committee. I still hold out hope for the next legislative session to make this system work for every New Mexican.”

Republican Representatives indicated in the letter that if publishing online was not possible, that each of their 24 members are “authorizing the Legislative Council Service to release to the public, upon request, the capital outlay projects each [Representative] allocated funding to during the 2020 legislative session.”

“Transparency and consistency are what New Mexicans ask of us when we spend and allocate their resources.” said Republican Leader Jim Townsend (R-Artesia), “New Mexicans are trusting us to spend wisely and we have made a commitment to the people that we will serve their best interest in Santa Fe.”