This year’s four-and-a-half-hour special session left many lawmakers praising their own bipartisan efforts to pass three bills including a tax package, capital outlay appropriations and money for courts and health care facilities.
While some lawmakers debated the bills and pointed out inadequacies of the legislation, all of the legislation either passed unanimously or by a large majority.
When the Legislature announced Sine Die, many lawmakers made their way straight for the doors, but soon after a flurry of press releases were sent out.
Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, touted the Capital Outlay bill as a good start to create jobs and keep New Mexican’s employed.
“Our main task in the Senate is to serve people and we are doing that today. Because we were able to come together, New Mexicans will benefit as we spur on economic development. $295 million will be invested in over 1,000 different projects throughout the state as critical infrastructure is addressed,” Senator Ingle said. “Mayors throughout the state told me they wanted capital funds to flow into their communities. They are going to get that. The many important projects include $60 million worth of new roads and repairs, university buildings, senior centers and many state agency buildings will receive needed repairs. We hope to put people to work with these significant projects.”
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, echoed Ingle’s thoughts and added that he was pleased with a portion of the tax package that allows for some medical expenses to be deducted from an individual’s taxes.
“We came together and took action to kick-start jobs across the state by passing needed infrastructure construction projects. We also got some relief for individuals and families who have high unreimbursed medical expenses. I am pleased that we could forge a real compromise with Governor Susana Martinez and House Republicans to put progress before partisanship. I am proud of my fellow Senators from both parties for sticking to our principles to put the best interests of the people of our state first.”
House Minority Caucus Chair Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, also praised the Capital outlay bill and said it was a sign of positive change in the legislature.
“Our seniors, our students and our Native communities faced serious cuts to critical projects. This package restored those cuts, and now we can move forward with projects that will boost the health and security of our seniors, help our students learn in safe and modern classrooms, and improve the community facilities that New Mexicans families use every day.”
The House Republican leadership could not be reached for a comment following the session, but the Republican Party of New Mexico released a statement through its chair. Debbie Maestas wrote,
“Governor Martinez and Republican leaders held firm to produce a deal that not only avoided a harmful gas tax increase but will improve our tax code, level the playing field for New Mexico’s small business and provide resources for vital infrastructure projects across the state.”
After the session ended, Gov. Susana Martinez she was pleased with the outcome and the bipartisan compromises. She said she would still need to look at the capital outlay bill line by line in order to determine if the money will be spent properly.