by David Carl, KOAT TV
May 12, 2017

DAVID CARL (KOAT TV): It’s an idea that’s dividing pundits. Some saying that it would lower taxes for all New Mexicans, while others say that it would hurt New Mexico’s most vulnerable.

JAMES JIMENEZ (New Mexico Voices for Children): “It’s going to be bad for children and bad for families.”

DAVID CARL: James Jimenez says the timing of Governor Martinez’s support for a grocery tax is interesting.

JAMES JIMENEZ: “It’s ironic that this would happen at the same week that the report comes out that New Mexico is once again last in the nation for child hunger.”

DAVID CARL: The Governor says earlier this week that she’ll support a tax on groceries as long as it’s part of larger tax reform. The Rio Grande Foundation says they almost never support new taxes, but this time they do.

PAUL GESSING (Rio Grande Foundation): “We would be fine with re-imposing a tax on groceries.”

DAVID CARL: The key word there –re-imposing. Prior to the Richardson Administration, New Mexico had a tax on groceries, it was repealed, making the tax base more narrow and raising tax rates. This, Paul Gessing says, would do the opposite which is healthy for New Mexico.

PAUL GESSING: “Expanding the number of items taxed, is a way that allows you to neutrally reduce those rates.”

DAVID CARL: But some say this move could negatively affect the poor and kids.

JAMES JIMENEZ: “Taxing food is not the way to solve New Mexico’s budget problems. It just doesn’t make sense, especially when we’re last in the nation in child hunger.”

DAVID CARL: New Mexico would be far from first in the nation to tax groceries. Twelve states currently have grocery tax rates ranging from 1 percent to 5.5 percent, but eight of those states rank in the top 10 in the nation in childhood poverty. The special session is set for just 12 days from today with balancing the budget the primary goal.

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