During a one-day Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature, the Senate today passed a package of legislation that funds needed infrastructure construction projects – seniors centers, higher education facilities, and tribal infrastructure – worth nearly $300 million. Work on those projects will create jobs in communities across the state quickly. The overall legislative package consisted of three parts: capital outlay funds of infrastructure projects, funding to meet budget shortfalls for Magistrate Court operations and the State Department of Health, and a series of tax breaks.
“This legislative package was a strong compromise, a compromise between the Senate, House and the executive branch. All sides made concessions and negotiated in good faith. The Senate has fulfilled its part of the agreement,” said Senate Finance Chairman, Senator John Arthur Smith (D-35-Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna and Sierra).
Funding for a long list of infrastructure construction projects was contained in Senate Bill 1. The Senate passed it unanimously, restoring $10 million for repairs and improvements for many senior centers. Funds also will flow to infrastructure projects at institutions of higher education, public libraries, fire stations, elementary schools, at tribal entities as well as local projects throughout the state totaling $295 million.
“We came together and took action to kick-start jobs across the state by passing needed infrastructure construction projects. We also got some relief for individuals and families who have high unreimbursed medical expenses. I am pleased that we could forge a real compromise with Governor Susana Martinez and House Republicans to put progress before partisanship. I am proud of my fellow Senators from both parties for sticking to our principles to put the best interests of the people of our state first,” said Majority Leader Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo and Valencia).
“Jobs are the number one concern of the people of New Mexico. Passage of today’s capital outlay bill will create up to 15,000 jobs over the next three years,” said Senator Michael Padilla (D-14-Bernalillo).
House Bill 1, passed by the Senate today, includes $300,000 to meet shortfalls at the state’s magistrate courts, and $4 million for a nursing-related shortfall at the Department of Health.
Included in the tax-breaks portion of the legislative package was the restoration of an expired tax deduction for medical expenses that go unreimbursed by health insurers.