Dem group advocates tax increase

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“Working Families Caucus” mapped out their proposals during a news conference

By Special to the Monitor

SANTA FE  — A group of House and Senate Democrats advocates raising taxes by more than $300 million to balance the state’s budget and avoid deep cuts in health care services and education.

One proposal outlined Thursday will roll back personal income tax cuts and capital gains reductions that were enacted in 2003.

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson opposes that, contending that the tax cuts are an economic development tool for recruiting businesses with high-paying jobs.

The group of mostly liberal Democrats, calling itself the “Working Families Caucus,” mapped out their budget-balancing proposals during a news conference and said they’re hopeful they can overcome opposition to tax increases from conservatives, particularly in the Senate.

“We’re up to the battle in the caucus,” said Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque.

She said not quite two dozen lawmakers were part of what she described as a “loose knit” group.

Among its proposals:

• Higher income taxes on upper-income New Mexicans. A measure by Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would establish higher rates for those earning $200,000 or more. Another proposal would impose a 1 percent surtax on those earning more than $150,000.

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