The Rio Grande Foundation spent a day in the Roundhouse this week discussing pension reform with New Mexico policymakers. But, when you get in the halls of the Roundhouse you find out about a number of issues and where things stand. Here’s what we’re hearing on a few of the big issues we’re looking at this session:
- The Foundation’s top priority, GRT reform (an issue discussed by Speaker Egolf prior to the session), is not going to happen.
- It is looking like a real uphill battle for Social Security tax reduction/elimination. Gov. Lujan Grisham didn’t include it in her budget and there just doesn’t seem to be much momentum among the Democrats for returning money to the taxpayers.
- Pension reform is likely the best opportunity for bi-partisan reform although plenty of lawmakers are nervous about doing this in an election year.
- “Free” college will be an opportunity for the somewhat more conservative Senate Democrats to exert some influence. Will they give in to the Gov.’s plans to offer this new “entitlement” or will they demand the money be used more wisely or not be spent at all? The Governor’s plan started out at $35 million, but according to the LFC the cost of the plan will be $49 million (an increase of 40%) and the session is just getting started.