Schools, other beneficiaries to get $1B from state endowment

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico schools, universities and other beneficiaries will share more than $1 billion from the state's permanent endowment funds.

The State Investment Council said Thursday the amount that will be distributed over the next fiscal year will be more than ever before. It also marks an increase of more than $60 million over the last year due to growth of the state’s Land Grant and Severance Tax permanent funds.

State Investment Officer Steve Moise said record revenues from oil and gas production and strong investment returns over the past decade have turned the funds into a billion-dollar revenue generator for New Mexico.

“These funds are not only an engine to fund schools and government today, but also represent our state’s nest egg for the inevitable day when oil and gas revenues are less plentiful,” he said in a statement.

New Mexico’s permanent endowments have distributed more than $8 billion over the last decade. State investment officials said that's the equivalent of almost $4,100 for every resident during that time.

With the growth of the permanent funds, distributions are on the upswing. Projections call for $13.7 billion to be delivered to beneficiaries over the next decade.

Despite the current oil boom, finance officials in Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration as well as some state lawmakers have cautioned about overspending. Moise echoed some of those concerns, saying there will be a time when revenues flowing into the funds will diminish, making it more difficult to grow the investments.

“We must invest prudently to take advantage of the current windfall, as today is only one moment in time and these funds have a ‘forever’ time horizon,” he said.