Cannon gets funding; lottery bill dies

David Arkin

A bill and capital outlay requests approved on Thursday would provide Cannon Air Force Base with close to $2 million in funding.
Legislation, submitted by Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, was passed by the Senate on Thursday.
Money has been approved for a variety of projects at the base, including funds for a special commission. About $1 million for an overpass leading to the base was approved through capital outlay monies.
Campos said $10 million will now be made available to New Mexico’s four bases.
The bill implements tax cuts for military testing and equipment at the base. It also sets up the framework for a commission that will help keep bases in New Mexico.
There’s also money tucked away in the budget for the base. The budget still has to be approved by the governor.
The budget would provide $400,000 to support the Office of Military Base Planning and Support and the Military Base Planning Commission.
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s process at determining which bases could potentially be closed is approaching.
The U.S. Department of Defense has announced plans to cut as much as 25 percent of the existing base capacity in the next round, which begins in May 2005.
Campos said getting the needed funding for the base was a priority.
“If any base is targeted during the BRAC process, we will come back to the Legislature to create a good situation for them,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Lottery bill dies
Maybe next year.
A bill that would have allowed more students to take advantage of the Lottery Scholarship never made its way out of the committee process and onto the Senate floor.
The legislation, which was submitted by Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, would have allowed students who graduate from high school to sit out a year before going to college and still qualify for the scholarship.
Moore said he would try to get changes made to the scholarship next year.
“It didn’t have a real good chance because it was a 30-day session,” he said. “We will do it again next year.”
The bill:
l Allowed students who attend high school in Texas, but whose families live in New Mexico, to qualify for the scholarship.
l Allowed students who attend a two-year college to receive the scholarship for an extra semester. But the limit on four-year institutions wouldn’t have changed.
Those who opposed the bill said allowing more students access to the scholarship would have put the revenues of the scholarship in jeopardy.
Moore said he understood people didn’t want changes made to the scholarship.
“A lot of people are tied in with the lottery,” he said. “They don’t want to hurt the balances and I understand that.”