|1. PAINS AT THE PUMPS: LAWMAKERS TODAY HEAR BILL THAT WOULD
SUBSTANTIALLY RAISE GAS TAX
The House Taxation & Revenue Committee this morning will hear HB 173 which would nearly triple New Mexico’s gas tax to 45 cents per gallon. Normally, the gas tax goes to roads and infrastructure, but progressive Rep. Matthew McQueen wants the extra tax dollars for other things. New Mexico is taxed enough! We must stop this out-of-control taxing and spending. Call Rep. Matthew McQueen
(505) 986-4423 and tell him we are being taxed out of New Mexico.
“So I believe very strongly that gasoline taxes should go to roads, that it is a user fee, and we all know that our roads are completely destroyed; that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Rep. Jason Harper, (R)-Rio Rancho, a member of the Taxation and Revenue Committee. “We had $3 billion of excess revenue these past few years. We should’ve pumped almost all of that into roads, and instead, we’re now talking about tripling our gasoline tax.”
2. PENSION REFORM MOVES FORWARD BUT PUBLIC WORKERS
WOULD PAYThe Senate Public Affairs Committee wrestled with the state’s $6.6 billion pension problem yesterday. Even left-leaning Democrats disagreed about how to deal with the massive unfunded liability. Major provisions of SB72 would tie future annual cost of living adjustments to investment returns instead of providing automatic 3% increases. It also increases pension contributions by employees and employers, with the exception of low-paid workers and state police and corrections officers. This is really scary. Should the market sour, public workers would see less money coming to them. What’s makes this even worse is that progressive Democrats want to make local and state workers contribute more into the pension system. Why should the mismanagement and disfunction of our liberal controlled legislature fall to the taxpayers to fix?
After heated debate, the pension bill cleared committee and will now head to the Senate Finance Committee.
3. CALL TO INCREASE SALARIES FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS
The Senate Education Committee has tabled a bill that would have increased minimum salaries for special-education teachers by 15 percent. The move essentially killed Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Michael Padilla. Supporters said the bill would help fill a shortage of special-education teachers in the state. But opponents argued that school districts should decide on such raises, not the Legislature.
“I think the idea is good and I think we need to put more thought into his bill,” said Republican Sen. Craig Brandt.
4. A REPUBLICAN PUSH WILL MEAN MOST TABLED BILLS WILL SOON BE
In a Republican Caucus call for more transparency, the House Rules and Order of Business Committee voted overwhelmingly to have tabled legislation made public. Minority Leader Jim Townsend sponsored House Resolution 1. Tabled bills are basically killed bills, and Townsend wants citizens to know about such action. The resolution passed 12-1 but not without a stipulation. An amendment was proposed to exclude appropriations, tax and revenue legislation, which members felt was too technically difficult to put on the Legislative website.The Committee agreed, and the resolution cleared with that stipulation. The tabling vote rule change is expected to be heard by the full House in the coming days.
“The Republican Caucus fully backs a transparent and fair legislature,” said Townsend. “The public deserves to know what their leaders are doing in Santa Fe. I am pleased that transparency is being discussed at the Roundhouse. By letting the sunshine into the process at the Capitol we are ensuring our citizens have fair and equitable representation.”
There are two other pending transparency concerns–HR 2 which reverts the special one-time change that allowed bills to be fast tracked on the Governor’s “rocket-docket” and HR 3 that would require the public be given 24 hour notice of any legislation that will be debated by the full House.
“The three transparency changes that Republicans are asking for are solutions to problems that are well known to both sides of the aisle,” said House Republican Whip Rod Montoya. “Hearing one transparency change is not enough and our two other transparency requests will dramatically provide the public with more access to the legislative process.”
5. DEMOCRATS’ BILL DECEITFULLY TRIES TO REVERSE AN ELECTION LAW TO UNDERMINE REPUBLICAN PARTY ELECTION LAWSUIT
There’s more to that HB 229 election legislation than meets the eye. That legislation slyly crosses out language deep into the bill that calls for three mandatory items for voter identification for absentee ballots. That’s the current law–you must have your name, address and year of birth on the ballot. If this bill is passed, it will lead to absentee voting chaos and fraud. No ID requirements. The political scoop here is that the Republican Party last fall filed suit against the State and the Dona Ana County Clerk for deliberately allowing voters to turn in ballots without the proper ID qualifications. This seems to be a subtle way to void the Party’s lawsuit, which demands that the law be followed.
This bill is slowly moving forward. It’s now in the State Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee.
This legislation must end. Call bill sponsors Linda M. Trujillo (505) 986-4436 and Daniel A. Ivey-Soto (505) 986-4270 and tell them no to this election bill.