New Mexico’s lawmakers are pushing back on the Governor’s decision to veto the use of federal aid intended to replenish the unemployment insurance (UI) fund. Before approving the state budget for 2022 last month, Governor Lujan Grisham used her line item veto authority to remove just over 1 billion in federal aid funding. $600 million of that amount was slated to refill NM’s depleted UI fund, and without it businesses will be saddled with the duty of refilling the fund in the form of increased tax rates. The Governor contends that her veto was necessary because it is the legal authority of the executive branch to handle federal funding, and because the state cannot appropriate money it still has not received.
State Legislators disagree. Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, a Gallup Democrat and chairwoman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, said she intends to object if state agencies under Lujan Grisham try to spend the disputed funding without legislative approval. “It’s clearly our role when it comes to appropriating and budgeting,” Lundstrom said, “and we’re going to protect that.” Legislators haven’t ruled out legal action, but both sides in the disagreement are citing precedent that grants budgetary authority over the funds in question. Click HERE to read more.
NMBC has been fiercely working on this issue to help protect New Mexican businesses from being punished for the layoffs they had no say in. Vetoing direct support for businesses from the budget will have the effect of raising unemployment insurance rates for businesses across the state.
In spite of the law passed by legislators and backed by NMBC that would protect businesses from unjust rate hikes, we are seeing non compliance with that law less than a year after it’s passing. The Department of Workforce Solutions has raised the UI rates for nearly 5,000 NM businesses – and some by up to 300%! The governor’s veto of these federal funds is just wrong. The UI fund needs to be replenished, and the massive layoffs weren’t the fault of businesses. So why punish employers when we have federal aid funding to patch the holes and get back to normal?
NMBC encourages you to stand with us, and tell the Governor to use our federal aid for protecting businesses like it was intended. Fill out the call to action on this page and send a message to the Governor now!