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Well, it’s Aug. 15. That’s the date the governor has set for his big push. And that push has gotten even bigger.
At first, the plan was to call the Legislature back in September to get them to pass his health care reform measure – the one that died in the January session.
Now his call includes a request for more highway funds and his much CARE package that is now the centerpiece of the upcoming special session.
The governor wants to give New Mexicans back some $210.6 million in relief from high gas prices. That sounds great – and is going to be as useless as the federal tax rebate.
We need solutions to our problems, not gimmicks. But what seems like gimmickry is what government does best, so on with the games.
In his CARE plan, every New Mexican will receive an income tax rebate this fall. The amounts depends on how much you earn.
You’ll get $150 for each taxpayer plus $40 for each dependent for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes up to $60,000; for those with incomes from $60,000-$65,000, the credit would be $125 for each taxpayer and $34 for each dependent; for $65,000-$70,000, the credit would be $100 for each taxpayer and $26 for each dependent; and for incomes higher than $70,000, the credit would be $75 for each taxpayer and $20 for each dependent.
The state has the money and it could be spent in worse ways, but still it does nothing to help in the long-term and does not address our real issues.
And while it is true that the state does have extra money from oil and gas revenues, it has lost a lot of income from lower fuel sales.
The state needs to be careful here that it does not throw our entire surplus away while ignoring the shortages.
One idea the governor has is something that we think is a really bad idea – his call for a one-time Tax Holiday for the holidays, Nov. 28-Dec. 7.
There are many local communities that need gross receipts taxes to provide them with needed income. These local governments are also suffering with high fuel costs and do not need an additional cut in income right now.
And the health-care proposal will cost who knows how many millions of dollars. Where is that money coming from? Who is going pay that bill?
We all know the answer: the taxpayer.
We are at a dangerous crossroads right now. We hope the Legislature takes a long and serious look at all these plans.
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