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New Mexico Democrats rally around tax plan to fix budget gap

The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff
February 16, 2017 05:17 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. - Democrats in the New Mexico House of Representatives are rallying around a package of tax and revenue measures designed to shore up state finances and stave off spending cuts to education and Medicaid health care.

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State lawmakers including the speaker of the House of Representatives announced Thursday a push to collect more money from internet sales, nonprofit hospitals, interstate truck permits and motor vehicle registrations.

Republican Gov. Martinez has steadfastly opposed tax increases and called for further belt-tightening by state government, but also indicates she may agree to close some tax loopholes.

House Speaker Brian Egolf says Democrats sought out tax measures the governor might sign and that without action spending cuts are likely to public schools, health care and job-creation incentives. The proposals would raise $214 million annually.

“And we think that when the stakes are fully understood that we have a good chance for these measures to be signed into law. You can’t look at anyone change in tax policy in a vacuum," he said. "You have to think that if this tax policy change is achieved what does that mean for a child’s education? What does that mean for access to healthcare? That’s the conversation we’re engaged in with the executive talking not just about a change in the tax code but also the people who are affected by not making that change.”

Mike Lonergan, a spokesperson for Martinez's office, reaffirmed the governor's opposition to tax increases as a way to deal with the lagging budget issues.

"This is the typical Santa Fe mentality -- stick it to New Mexico's families and businesses to bail out government when there is a crisis," Lonergan said in a statement to KOB later Thursday afternoon. "It's simply out of touch that legislators would protect their pork projects and personal legislative retirement accounts, while at the same time asking New Mexicans to shell out more on their cars and gas. The governor is open to true tax reform, but she will not let lawmakers bail out Santa Fe on the backs of our families."

Credits

The Associated Press and KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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