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New Mexico pays for empty buildings as remote work lingers

Thomas Barwick
Getty Images

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Inspections have found that New Mexico is paying to maintain entire buildings and several building floors of unused office space while many state workers continue to telecommute from home in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The program evaluation from the Legislature’s budget and accountability office was scheduled for discussion by lawmakers on Tuesday. The inquiry finds that unused building space costs the state up to $18 million a year. In one instance, an agency has no plan in place for a return to in-person work at a nearly empty facility with a $1.2 million annual lease.