SANTA FE, N.M. -

Public colleges and universities in New Mexico are bracing for budget cuts as state lawmakers prepared to deal with a budget shortfall of up to $650 million.
    
Albuquerque Republican Rep. Jimmie Hall told The Santa Fe New Mexican reports  that many lawmakers consider higher education one of the easiest areas to cut.
    
Hall, the vice chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, says constituents, lobbyists, legislators and staff have all told him to start by reducing higher education funding.
    
New Mexico cut funding for colleges and universities by 2.4 percent in fiscal year 2016. Some universities have already responded to the cuts and prepared for the potential of more reductions by slashing their own budgets.

(Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com)