We have criticized Gov. Lujan Grisham for not clearly outlining an economic or education policy agenda in advance of the election. And, while the Albuquerque Journal article about her did little to illuminate her positions, the Journal HAS surveyed the candidates.
1) What steps should the Legislature take to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?
MLG: We must continue diversifying the economy and invest in education to develop New Mexico’s workforce. (basically, continue spending more money on education).
Ronchetti: We must diversify the economy by growing the private sector and revitalizing our small businesses through a competitive tax structure, less regulation and stronger workforce. We make things too difficult for small businesses and don’t empower them to grow. (RGF Take: Ronchetti, few specific policies, but an emphasis on tax/regulatory reform and attracting small business.
7) What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
MLG: I signed the first GRT cut in 40 years, delivering tax relief to New Mexico families while making our businesses more competitive. This is in addition to other tax cuts we have implemented. As we grow our economy, we should continue to look at ways to save New Mexicans money. (the Gov. leaves the door open to tax reduction, but oddly has never shared specific ideas)
Ronchetti: Level the playing field for small businesses, who get hammered by layers of gross receipts taxes that big corporations don’t have to pay. We’ll also reduce the GRT every year and not allow local governments to raise the GRT without going to the voters (RGF take: Ronchetti has a detailed plan) and has made it clear that addressing both “pyramiding” and rates on the GRT are critical)
MLG: I increased spending/teacher pay and will focus on early childhood and bilingual education.
Ronchetti: Our education system is ranked last for all children. It’s critical that we help our kids catch up from the lost learning they suffered as a result of school shutdowns, which disproportionately hurt minority children. Chronic absenteeism and lost-learning are completely unacceptable. (RGF take: Ronchetti has a detailed education plan as well. It doesn’t focus as much as we’d like on choice, but it has lots of worthy ideas)