For the next few weeks, Gov. Martinez and her staff will be going through the bills that passed both houses this legislative session (find a list of those bills here). Here are a few “off the cuff” thoughts on the end of the session:
1) The failure to pass any significant education reforms is a travesty. The Gov.’s 3rd grade reading bills failed as did the tax credit scholarship bills. The especially galling fact about the scholarship bills (HB 166 and HB 65) both passed out of their respective House Committees, but Speaker Lujan refused to bring the Democrat-sponsored bills to the House floor for votes. Apparently, a majority in the Legislature is perfectly happy with 49th.
2) The tax cuts on the gross receipts tax that passed will help lower costs for some businesses. This is probably a good thing, but the piecemeal approach to tax reform is not ideal and will lead to increased tax complexity.
3) Some important reforms to the PRC passed and are great news. Kudos to our friends at Think New Mexico! The series of bills will increase the qualifications for PRC commissioners, transfer the PRC’s authority over the reporting and registration of corporations to a one-stop shop for business registrations and filings at the Secretary of State’s office; and remove the PRC’s authority over insurance and reforms how Superintendents of Insurance are selected.
4) No action was taken to resolve New Mexico’s massive $10 billion unfunded pension liability. This is a real problem. Failure to act now only makes the problem worse.