March 17, 2019:
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico deplores the New Mexico Senate action that gutted HB6. It is time for New Mexico to generate the revenues needed to fund essential services, including early childhood and those revenues should come from those who can most afford it.
The version of the bill passed by the New Mexico House would have set New Mexico on the path to a broader, more reliable source of funding. It would have would have generated $320 million in recurring revenue. But the New Mexico Senate removed much of the revenue generation and eliminated almost all of the fairness features of the House version. The version agreed to in conference would generate only $70 million in additional revenue.
In the final Senate Finance Committee meeting of the session, the Governor made her pitch for funding for early childhood programs. The Committee members all expressed their support for the programs but opposed tapping the Land Grant Permanent Fund as proposed by HJR1. They went on to say that they would seek other ways to fund those programs. Some members argued that New Mexico had to wean itself from dependence on revenues from the oil and gas industry.
After the Governor left, the Senate Finance Committee approved eviscerating the House version of HB6, which would have raised millions of dollars - none of it from oil and gas. It is amazing that they did not see the disconnect.
This is a lost opportunity of great magnitude. New Mexicans deserve better from their legislators.