AP Newsbreak: NM Gov looks at line-item veto of tax

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is looking at an option once used by her predecessor, Democrat Bill Richardson, to reject a tax increase approved by the Legislature.

Martinez is considering using her line-item veto powers to eliminate a $128 million tax increase on businesses in a measure to shore up the state's unemployment compensation program.

Taking that approach allows the governor to eliminate the higher taxes but preserve nearly $80 million in cost savings through benefit reductions. However, Democratic lawmakers question whether that action would be legal and it could trigger a lawsuit.

Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell says the governor is looking at all possible options to ensure economic stability and growth in the state.

Last year, Richardson used his line-item veto powers to reject a proposed food tax.