As we approach the final days of the 60 day legislative session, backroom deals outside public view and contrary to the legislative process are rampant.
After approving details of a $9.57 billion budget on Saturday, the Senate Finance Committee brought the issue back up on Sunday morning due to pressure from Governor Lujan Grisham’s staff. It is highly irregular, if not unprecedented, for a committee to reconsider a bill after it has been passed. The outcome was several multi-million dollar changes made in the proposed budget before it was brought up on the Senate floor for a vote on Sunday afternoon.
With all Democrats except one voting YES on the budget bill that grows state spending by almost $1 billion dollars, it easily passed. All Republican Senators, several voicing strong objections, voted NO.
Ironically, Democrat Senator George Munoz who is Chair of the Finance Committee, said this, “We’ve increased our recurring expenses to the tune of about 30% over the last three years, and that’s pretty much an unsustainable number.” Having pointed out the obvious problem with massive increases in state spending since Lujan Grisham took office, Munoz then voted YES to support more increased spending! Read more about the late-night pressure, back room deals and vigorous objections raised HERE.
HB 547 Omnibus tax bill that rolled numerous proposals into one bill was also passed on Sunday by the House. All Democrats and seven Republicans voted YES and 18 Republicans voted NO. While the major media headlines yesterday focused on small rebates to tax payers from the $3.6 billion surplus and a Gross Receipts Tax reduction (both of which are indeed positive), HB 547 heads to the Senate with nearly $100 million in proposed tax increases!
When the legislative process goes like it should and legislators don’t bend to political or special interest pressure, results for the good of the state are better. Steady opposition from NMBC beginning last year while serving on the PFMLA Task Force, verbal testimony in committees, letters to legislators and the voices of thousands of New Mexicans generated via our ‘Calls to Action’ brought positive results! SB 11 Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), which would have been a multi-million dollar tax on employees and employers, was tabled (killed) yesterday in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee!
Click on the button below to easily make your voice heard on tax increase bills (and others) before it’s too late. SB 11 proves that TOGETHER, we CAN make a difference!