Tax reform bill draws debate at the Roundhouse | KOB 4
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Tax reform bill draws debate at the Roundhouse

Kai Porter
February 26, 2019 10:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Democrats and Republicans are split over a tax reform bill.

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“For far too long, New Mexico has been way too dependent on the volatility of oil and gas,” said Rep. Javier Martinez, a Democrat who is one of the sponsors of the bill. “HB 6 broadens our tax base. It creates a sustainable revenue source for the state for years to come”

It’s estimated the bill would raise $323 million dollars a year to pay for things like roads repair and schools.

The money would come from state tax increases on things like cigarettes, cars and online sales.

“We are looking at the wealthiest paying their fair share, we’re looking at income tax rates for the highest earners and bring them up to par,” Martinez said. “Right now, the secretary and the doctor pay the same tax rate. That’s just inherently unfair.”

However, Rep. Jason Harper, a Republican, believes House Bill 6 is a tax increase bill, not a tax reform bill.

“In addition to the $323 million at the state level, there’s another $170 million that are going to cities and counties as part of this tax increase,” Harper said. “You add that together, that’s half a billion dollar tax increase on New Mexico families, the biggest tax increase in the state’s history.”

Harper also questions why there’s a need to raise taxes when the state is dealing with the biggest budget surplus in state history.

“We have a billion dollar surplus now and a billion dollar surplus for next year, so two billion extra dollars and we’re talking about a half billion dollar tax increase,” Harper said. “That just blows my mind.” 

Martinez justifies the bill by saying the state needs sustainable revenue sources.

“The surplus that we have right now is a one-time surplus. It’s gone tomorrow,” he said.

House Bill 6 is expected to be heard in the House Taxation & Revenue Committee Wednesday.

Track House Bill 6 during the legislative session

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Kai Porter

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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