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John Arthur Smith
New Mexico auditor says idle $4.5 billion should be spent

As New Mexico lawmakers feud over a stalled public works package and wrestle with ways to stimulate the state's lagging economy, an ominous number looms over the conversation. The state auditor says $4.5 billion in unspent money is sitting around in the accounts of various agencies, with varying degrees of restrictions on how it can be used and when it should be pushed out to spur economic development. Some lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez disagree with the auditor's assessment, but others say it highlights the need to better sort out New Mexico's complicated balance sheet. Legislators say they're open to examining the figures and want changes such as ensuring the...