Wallace advocates spending cuts

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overnor’s task force may look at tax hike

By Carol A. Clark

If the state’s budget is going to get balanced, Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-N.M., says spending has got to be cut.

“The fact is the only way to balance the budget is to cut spending. We’ve tried it all, we even sent the governor a 7 percent cut to major agencies, letting him determine the criteria and he got angry at that and vetoed it,” Wallace said. “Now he’s doing furloughs and that’s not good.”      

Wallace is skeptical as to the benefit of Gov. Bill Richardson’s newly formed task force to study a variety of proposals to help balance the state’s budget.

“I don’t know if it’ll do any good. We’ll have to wait and see. I suspect they’ll look at tax increases but we need the money now to balance the budget,” she said. “We really have looked at all ideas and unfortunately taxes don’t help for right now — we’ve got to cut spending.”

The task force is directed to review and scrutinize new revenue options as well as seek public input on options before the regular legislative session gets underway in January. “Our revenue has taken a major hit from the global economic crisis and we’ve responded by taking bold action to cut state spending to offset those losses,”

Richardson said in a news release. “But moving forward we must also take a serious look at options to increase our revenue in ways that allow us to maintain our competitive advantage and address New Mexico’s long-term financial health.”

Richardson appointed Secretary Rick Homans of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department to chair the task force that consists of more than 40 New Mexicans representing a wide range of industries, education, labor and other non-profit organizations.

The task force will hold its first public meeting from 1-5 p.m. Monday at the Santa Fe Community College. Additional meetings will be scheduled in Albuquerque, Farmington and Las Cruces.

The group has set up a Web site at www.nmrevenueoptions.com, which will provide copies of meeting agendas, presentations and a way for members of the public to provide input to the group. A portion of each meeting will be set aside for public comment.