Do What We Want, and You’ll Get a Tax Break!


As the Foundation continues to scrutinize, and score, the bills being drafted for the 2016 regular legislative session, one thing has become distressingly clear: Lawmakers have no desire to simplify the tax code.

Republican and Democratic legislators alike are pushing all manner of tax credits and deductions. Here are a few:

* HB 34 creates a Thanksgiving-meal GRT deduction provided the restaurant had, “in the most recent five years … an average business income … of less than two million dollars ($2,000,000) per year.”

* HB 54 makes all health care practitioners eligible for the “Rural Health Care Practitioner Tax Credit.”

* HB 79 expands the “Working Families Tax Credit.”

* HB 107 reduces the severance tax rate on oil and natural gas obtained from “stripper” wells.

* HB 108 creates a “rural infrastructure tax credit” to “stimulate economic development.”

* HB 163 creates the “Home Energy & Water Efficiency Tax Credit.”

* HB 169 creates the “Capital Gain Reinvestment Income Tax Credit.”

* HB 174 permits local governments to suspend property taxes for “commercial enterprises.”

* SB 13 extends the “solar market development tax credit” until 2025.

* SB 16 creates an income-tax deduction for retired veterans and their spouses.

* SB 31 creates the “Technology Readiness Gross Receipts Tax Credit.”

New Mexico’s tax burden is far too high. Some levies need to be eliminated entirely, while the rates of others should be cut. But tinkering with the tax code — i.e., using fiscal policy to engineer outcomes that elected officials deem desirable — is an affront to fairness, simplicity, and liberty.