Dispute looms over NM governor’s tax cut proposals

January 15, 2012 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — When the Legislature convenes Tuesday, lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez will consider doing what was unthinkable in the past three years because of New Mexico’s sour economy: Cutting taxes.

With the economy on the mend, the governor is proposing $55 million in tax cuts to boost businesses and encourage them to create jobs. But those tax reductions likely will turn into one of the biggest disputes between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which has been forced to slash state spending since 2009 to balance the budget. Many Democrats hoped this year’s session would allow them to restore recent cutbacks in programs and services.

House Speaker Ben Lujan, a Santa Fe Democrat, said tax cuts “wouldn’t be smart to do at this time” because of uncertainty over the economy in New Mexico and the rest of the nation.

But taxes won’t be the only source of friction between Democrats and the governor.

The 30-day session is taking place during an election year in which Republicans see an opportunity to win a majority in the House for the first time since the 1950s. Democrats hold a 36-33 advantage in the House, which also has one independent.

Against that backdrop, Martinez wants lawmakers to consider several politically Login to read more

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