The Stage is Set

January 28th, 2013 at 6:16 pm by under Latest Posts

This morning Democrats laid out their three-pronged job creation plan, a little less than two weeks after Governor Martinez used the big stage of her State of the State address to lay out her own plans to boost the state economy.

The Democratic plan includes nearly $100 million in new funding for infrastructure projects, forming a jobs council and focused incentives in four different sectors of New Mexico’s economy (Film, Technology, Energy and Value-Added Agriculture).

The Governor’s plan includes tax credits for small businesses that create new jobs, increased funding to cover employee training (JTIP) and a slashing of the corporate tax rate.

Some of these points may be complementary. While Governor Martinez has vetoed some infrastructure projects in the past in capital outlay bills, it would be surprising to see her veto the whole package. While Democrats may have some questions about how much a new jobs tax break would cost, investing in JTIP could be amenable.

But there are some parts where a line in the sand is being drawn. Next week Democrats are expected to unveil another legislative initiative to hike the state’s minimum wage, something that could get some pushback from the fourth floor.

Likewise a corporate tax cut is a tough sell to many Democrats. In his response to the State of the State, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez said that job creation solely through tax breaks for businesses is not viable.

There could be some trading there.

Both sides have fought over film tax incentives in the past, with the Governor in favor of an annual cap and Democrats opposed to capping tax credits for filmmakers.

The fights won’t be resolved for quite a while, but now many of the cards are on the table. Now the stage is set for an economic debate in a state that has struggled to keep pace with the slow national recovery.

Bill of the Day

HB 234

Retired principal and current Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (D – Las Cruces) has brought forward a state law that would create an interesting new crime.

Under Garcia’s bill, we could see someone charged with a new state crime… Bullying.

Here’s how her bill defines that:

  • Bullying consists of a pattern of intentional conduct, including physical, verbal, written or electronic communication, that creates a hostile environment and substantially interferes with another person’s physical or psychological well-being

Bullying would be a petty misdemeanor under the proposed law, or in cases of “bodily harm or substantial emotional distress”, a misdemeanor.

We’ve seen a lot of anti-bullying talk in the last few years and a push for schools to change their rules. This would a big statewide step for anti-bullying advocates if passed.

HB 234 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee, its only committee in the House.

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