Gov. Lujan Grisham signs special session relief bill

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill on Friday that will provide New Mexicans with payments up to $1,000. 

HB 2, which the Legislature passed earlier this week during a special legislative session, uses $698 million to provide $500 to single tax filers and $1,000 to joint filers. The legislation will also use $20 million to provide relief, on a first-come, first-served basis, to those who did not file income taxes.  

“Today I am glad to enact legislation easing the burden of high national prices, putting money in New Mexicans’ pockets and protecting their paychecks,” Lujan Grisham said. 

Lujan Grisham also signed SB 1, which will set aside $50 million for community projects around the state. Referred to as a “junior” spending bill, SB 1 was the second attempt of a bill that the Legislature passed during the 30-day session earlier this year, but that Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed. 

Both bills come on the heels of a bill that the Legislature passed during the 30-day session and the governor signed that will provide up to $1,500 in relief to New Mexico households to counter increased gas prices. 

Legislature passes financial relief bill in special session

A bill to provide financial relief to New Mexicans quickly worked its way through the Legislature in a special session on Tuesday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called legislators into the special session largely to pass this bill. It took nearly 12 hours for lawmakers to send the legislation to her desk. The legislation would provide $500 in individual tax rebates to those who file taxes, or $1,000 to the head of a household who is married. The payments would come in the form of two payments, one in June and one in August.

Rail Runner funding removed from junior spending bill

The Rail Runner will not be receiving $1 million to temporarily reduce fares to riders. A proposal to provide the money to the public transit organization was removed from the “junior” spending bill on Tuesday during the Senate Finance Committee and a later attempt by Sen. Jacob Candelaria, I-Albuquerque, to add it back in was unsuccessful. The funding for the Rail Runner to reduce fares was not in the bill that previously passed the Legislature during the regular session earlier this year. That bill was brought back for the special session after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham vetoed it. The governor said in her veto message that it circumvented the normal process for spending bills and said that some of the projects were not fully funded, which could result in money being  “wasted on projects that will never be completed.”

Proponents of including the Rail Runner funding said that one reason for the special session was to provide relief to New Mexicans struggling because of the cost of gasoline.

Special session for economic relief coming in April

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced an upcoming special session beginning on April 5 after an agreement with legislative leaders. At issue is a “junior” spending bill, which Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed. The governor said legislators would bring up a “revised” spending bill. She also indicated that she will ask the Legislature to provide further economic relief in light of rising inflation and soaring gas prices. “As prices remain high nationwide, it is clear that we must act swiftly to deliver more relief to New Mexicans,” the governor said.