New Mexico Legislature sues governor in escalating conflict

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Legislature has sued Republican Gov. Susana Martinez over her budget vetoes that would effectively eliminate the legislative branch by cutting off its funding amid an escalating clash over how to resolve the state's financial crisis.

The Democrat-led Legislature on Friday petitioned the New Mexico Supreme Court to block vetoes that would defund the legislative branch and all state institutions of higher education in the coming fiscal year.

Attorneys for the Legislature say the vetoes would upset the constitutional balance between opposing branches of government.

The court challenge stems from a standoff over how to resolve a state budget shortfall linked to faltering tax income from low oil prices and an anemic local economy. Martinez has rejected tax increases offered by lawmakers and is urging further belt-tightening.

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