by Joey Peters, NM Political Report
October 4, 2016
Legislators on opposing sides of the aisle are using remarkably similar arguments on two bills that would delay tax breaks and subsidies to businesses to help balance New Mexico’s projected $460 million shortfall between last year and this year.
One would delay incoming corporate tax cuts for two years, saving the state an estimated $13.8 million this fiscal year, according to the Legislative Finance Committee.
The other bill would generate $20 million by cutting New Mexico’s film industry subsidy by that much this year.
While both bills bear similarities in delaying tax breaks and subsidies for businesses, they’re being both supported and opposed on nearly opposite partisan lines.
Democratic leadership in the Roundhouse argued that businesses must participate in the “shared sacrifice” of cuts to solve the state’s budget crisis when supporting the corporate tax cut delays that the Senate passed last weekend.
House Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, emphasized this point when criticizing proposed cuts to services in the Republican budget plan Monday morning in his office.
“They’re digging so deep because the refused to ask out-of-state corporations and large New Mexico corporations to wait a year to get their next tax cut,” Egolf told reporters. “That is the fundamental problem in the Republican plan.”
After narrowly passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, the corporate tax cut delay bill died in a Republican-controlled House committee earlier this week. Business interest groups opposing the bill testified that delaying previously promised tax cuts amounted to the state sending a message of unreliability to businesses.
“Predictability does matter. And it matters a great deal to business,” Terri Cole, president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, said of the delaying corporate tax cuts.
Cole later gave the exact same argument against delaying film subsidies, even prefacing that she didn’t want to “duplicate a lot of my comments from the other night, but they certainly apply.”
“We think it’s a very bad idea to disturb in any way an industry that is working toward diversification