Statement of Senator John Arthur Smith (D-Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35), Chair, Legislative Finance Committee:
Senate Democrats are looking forward to a special session of the Legislature to pass a needed capital outlay funding bill. This is the important unfinished work of the 2015 Legislature. The projects contained in this legislation are critical to create jobs that we need in communities in every part of New Mexico.
But time is running out. The Governor must act immediately to call us into a special session if we are going to restore funding for critical construction projects at senior centers across the state, our higher education institutions and tribal communities. Time is of the essence.
On the issue that created an impasse earlier this year, how to pay for road and highway improvements, Senate Democrats have compromised and have offered to meet Governor Martinez half way. We believe it is a legitimate solution to move these projects forward.
We have studied the Governor’s tax package, and are disappointed that it does not help ordinary New Mexicans, working men and women, and small businesses. They should be on top of the list of beneficiaries for any type of tax relief.
Statement of Senator Michael S. Sanchez, Senator Majority Leader (D-Bernalillo, Valencia-29):
Senate Democrats continue to be ready and willing to go into special session to pass a capital outlay bill, if the Governor will call it. We know that capital outlay projects create much needed jobs in our local communities. That is why this is urgent.
Governor Martinez has said in the past she would call a special session if there were a pre-negotiated agreement. As we’ve said before, Senate Democrats will agree immediately to pass the capital outlay package of spending projects of repairs and improvements to senior centers, public libraries, our higher education facilities, and tribal communities. These projects will help stimulate the economy and create jobs in all parts of the state.
On the other hand, we have reviewed the Governor’s tax proposal and do not understand why she is insisting that it be included as part of a special session for capital outlay. We do not believe it will create jobs nor will it generate economic activity for existing businesses. We do not believe that it will help the small, mom and pop businesses that are the backbone of our economy.
We urge the business community to study the Governor’s proposed tax package to understand how these measures will work and determine whether they will realize any significant benefits for themselves, or for the people of our state. Before claiming that its passage is a priority, we hope the business community will analyze the bill and its impact on their businesses.