Santa Fe, N.M. – The N.M. House Republicans today chose to charge taxpayers an estimated $25,000 for a day that that legislators will not meet or work. The decision, which N.M. House Republican leaders hope will go unnoticed by hard-working taxpayers, occurred late in the afternoon on Monday. The Democratic led N.M. Senate, in contrast, made the prudent decision to complete all of its work to address the state’s severe budget crisis and adjourn last Saturday – meaning there has been no cost to taxpayers since then.
“Families in our state work so hard for the money they earn, and their hard earned dollars help run state government, including the cost of the legislature. The House Republicans’ decision to recess instead of adjourn will cost $25,000 of taxpayers’ money on Tuesday, even though Republicans decided not to show up for work. If anyone else doesn’t show up for their job, they don’t get paid, and they could lose their job. Republicans in the House should live by the same rules as ordinary New Mexicans. What the Republicans in the House have done is an outrage and wasteful government spending at its worst,” said Debra Haaland, Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
The N.M. Senate said that the Special Session should be solely for fixing the $600 million budget deficit that opened up under Governor Susana Martinez’s watch. Governor Martinez and House Republicans insist on playing election-time political games – costing the state tens of thousands of dollars – with crime bills that should appropriately be handled in the regular 60-day session in January.
The “feed bill” as introduced appropriates funds to pay three days’ of per diem to legislators and salaries for staff for working during the Special Session. The N.M. Senate worked for two days, incurring costs of approximately $25,000, while Republicans in the House wasted time that should have been used addressing the budget, including one day in which the chamber will not work, at a cost of approximately $125,000.