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End the Food Tax



Food Tax Repeal

Issue Summary


2015-2016 Food Tax Update

Although two prior attempts to reimpose the food tax were defeated, in October 2013 the New Mexico Municipal League, which represents the state's mayors and city councils, announced that it would be bringing legislation to reimpose the food tax during the 2015 legislative session. The proposal was adopted as a high priority item by the Municipal League in August 2014 and draft legislation was presented to the legislature in December 2014.

In January 2015, Senate Bill 274 was introduced to reimpose the food tax. Think New Mexico worked hard to defeat it, and although it passed one Senate committee in a vote held without a public hearing, the bill was stopped before it reached the Senate. Once again, in 2016 legislation was introduced to reimpose the full food tax, and once again we successfully opposed it.

We doubt that this is the last we've heard of the food tax, so please sign our petition urging your state and local representatives to keep food tax-free in New Mexico!


The Third Defeat of the Food Tax

Late the night before the 2013 legislative session concluded, the Senate Finance Committee unexpectedly passed a complex tax package that, among other things, would have reimposed the food tax on New Mexico families — an idea that had not ben raised during the first 59 days of the 60-day session. Just as we had in 2010, Think New Mexico sprang into action to defeat it once more.

We alerted the media, our allies in the legislature, and our thousands of supporters across the state, who sent 1,120 emails to their legislators asking them to oppose the food tax in the final hours of the session. By the time the tax package came up for a full vote of the Senate less than an hour before the end of the session, we were relieved and gratified to find that the food tax was no longer included.


The 2010 Veto of the Food Tax Reimposition

On March 24, 2010, Governor Richardson vetoed the reimposition of the food tax that had been approved during a special legislative session earlier that month.

The movement to reimpose the food tax emerged in late 2009 when the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce proposed it as an alternative to raising corporate or personal income taxes. Think New Mexico launched into action against this threat, which would have taken over $250 a year out of the pockets of the average family of four.

During the regular legislative session, a bill passed the Senate that would have taxed more than half of New Mexico's staple foods (because the taxed foods included white flour tortillas, it was quickly dubbed the "tortilla tax"). Think New Mexico joined with other organizations to oppose the tortilla tax, and it was unanimously tabled in its first House committee. This chapter of the food tax saga came to an end when the Governor line-item vetoed the reimposition of the city and county portion of the food tax that was included in the tax package passed during the 2010 special session.

Original cartoon by Danny Green for the Santa Fe Sun Monthly, January 2010.


The Repeal of New Mexico's Food Tax

In late 2001, with the release of our fourth policy report, Think New Mexico launched a campaign to repeal New Mexico's food tax.

At that time, New Mexico was one of only nine states that continued to fully tax food, along with Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia. This antiquated tax was extremely regressive, burdened working families, and worsened the state's hunger problem.

Our bipartisan legislation to abolish the food tax came extremely close to passing in the 2002 legislative session, but ran out of time at the very end of the session. In 2004, Think New Mexico teamed up with Governor Bill Richardson and House Speaker Ben Lujan to champion a successful bill to repeal the taxes on both groceries and selected medical services.

As of January 1, 2005, food is exempt from taxation in New Mexico.

Original cartoon by Jonathan Richards, March 5, 2010.


Get Involved

Thank your Legislators Thank Your Legislators
When he line-item vetoed the reimposition of the food tax, Governor Richardson cited the more than 2,000 emails he had received from New Mexicans opposed to the food tax as one reason for his action. Likewise, the food tax was repealed in part because, during the 2004 legislative session, many Think New Mexico supporters wrote and emailed their legislators urging them to support the food tax repeal. Click here if you would like to thank your legislators and the Governor for repealing and not reimposing the food tax - you can compose and send emails or letters to them directly from Think New Mexico's Action Center.

Contact your Local Media Vocal public support of abolishing the food tax played a big part in making it happen. Legislators and the Governor were attentive and responsive to the many letters to the editor that called for an end to the food tax. We encourage you to express your opposition to the reimposition of the food tax through the media, as well as directly to your representatives. The Media section of Think New Mexico's Action Center provides the names and contact information for your local media, including newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, and you can compose and send any of them an email or letter right from the page.


Donate Now Online


Original Jonathan Richards cartoon illustrating how the food tax harmed New Mexico's children.

Resources & Media


Food Tax Repeal Policy Report Read Think New Mexico's policy report on repealing the food tax



Coalition Opposed to the Reimposition of the Food Tax, 2009-2010


Read what New Mexicans are saying about the food tax


Update: According to a 2009 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, only Alabama and Mississippi still fully tax the sale of food

CBPP Food Tax Map

Map by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Read Stateline article on food tax repeal efforts in other states • January 29, 2007


Questions about how the food tax repeal affects you as a consumer or business? Check out the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department's Fact Sheet on the Food Tax Deduction.


Coalition in Support of the Food Tax Repeal, 2001-2004


Newspaper Articles & Editorials

Read Think New Mexico's 2015 opinion editorial opposing the reimposition of the food tax, which was published in the Albuquerque Journal, the Carlsbad Current-Argus, the Farmington Daily Times, the Gallup Independent, the Grant County Bea,t the Hobbs News-Sun, the Jal Record, the Las Cruces Sun-News, the Las Vegas Optic, the Los Alamos Monitor, the Mountain View Telegraph, the Rio Rancho Observer, the Ruidoso News, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Silver City Daily Press, the Taos News, and the Valencia County News-BulletinJanuary-February 2015


Read Santa Fe New Mexican and Albuquerque Journal articles on the Municipal League's proposal to reimpose the food tax in 2015 • January 2015


Read Albuquerque Journal article on the proposed 2013 reimposition of the food tax • October 22, 2013


Read editorials by Farmington Daily Times, the Las Cruces Sun-News and the Silver City Sun-News commending Governor Richardson for vetoing the food tax


Watch Governor Richardson's statement on his decision to veto the reimposition of the food tax.


Read the opinion editorial by Think New Mexico making the case for why Governor Richardson should veto the food tax • March 2010


Read editorials by the Carlsbad Current-Argus, the Edgewood Independent, the Las Cruces Sun-News, the Rio Grande Sun, and the Santa Fe New Mexican urging Governor Richardson to veto the reimposition of the food tax.


Read Deming Headlight editorial opposing the reimposition of the food tax (which also ran in the Carlsbad Current-Argus, the Las Cruces Sun-News, and the Silver City Sun-NewsJanuary 1, 2010


Read Taos News editorial opposing the reimposition of the food tax • January 7, 2010


Read Rio Grande Sun editorial opposing the reimposition of the food tax • December 17, 2009


Read Santa Fe New Mexican article about how all five gubernatorial candidates oppose the reimposition of the food tax • December 22, 2009


Read the opinion editorial by Think New Mexico and the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops opposing the reimposition of the food tax, which was published in 23 newspapers across the state, including the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and the Rio Grande SunDecember 2009


Read Santa Fe New Mexican editorial lauding the implementation of the food tax repeal • January 5, 2005


Read Las Vegas Daily Optic editorial celebrating the repeal of the food tax • January 4, 2005


Read Albuquerque Tribune article "Shoppers Praise End to Food Tax" • December 30, 2004


Read Ruidoso News article on passage of food tax repeal legislation • December 24, 2004


Read Santa Fe New Mexican editorial on food tax repeal legislation • February 20, 2004


Read Santa Fe New Mexican article about Think New Mexico's food tax repeal bill, championed by Governor Richardson and House Speaker Ben Lujan • February 7, 2004


Read Santa Fe New Mexican article on Governor Richardson's support for the food tax repeal • January 10, 2004


Read Think New Mexico's opinion editorials on repealing the food tax • January 2003August 2003


Read Associated Press article about how New Mexico's food tax burdens working families • January 19, 2002


Read Santa Fe New Mexican editorial on the food tax repeal • November 4, 2001


Radio and Television

Listen to KVSF 101.5 radio story on the proposed 2015 reimposition of the food tax • December 29, 2014 (mp3, 14:32)


Watch KOB TV news story on the 2015 proposal to bring back the food tax • December 23, 2014 (2:14)


Watch KRWG Las Cruces news segment on the proposed 2013 reimposition of the food tax • October 30, 2013 (2:40)


Watch KRQE TV news segment on the proposed reimposition of the food tax in late 2013 • October 23, 2013 (2:30)


Listen to KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio report on the proposed reimposition of the food tax in late 2013 • October 25, 2013 (mp3, 6:33)


Listen to KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio report on the proposed reimposition of the food tax in late 2013 • October 25, 2013 (mp3, 6:33)


Listen to KUNM Public Radio report on the proposed reimposition of the food tax in 2010 • January 19, 2010 (mp3, 4:52)


Blogs, Online Media, and Other

Read Bread New Mexico's blog entry opposing the proposed 2013 reimposition of the food tax • October 29, 2013