Here are brief summaries of the bills we are working on during the 2022 legislative session, with links to our Action Center so you can easily contact your legislators and the governor about any of them:
- Repeal the tax on Social Security income for 90% of New Mexico seniors and make up the lost revenue by increasing taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products. We are supporting legislation sponsored by Senator Bill Tallman that would repeal the state’s tax on Social Security income for seniors who have total incomes of less than $72,000, or $124,000 for a married couple, which meant that only the top 10% wealthiest seniors in New Mexico would continue to be taxed on their Social Security income. The bill is revenue neutral to the state because it increases taxes on e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and other tobacco products, which is an important tool to reduce youth smoking. New Mexico currently ranks third highest for teen vaping and fifth highest for teen smoking. Read more about this reform.
- Make personal finance a high school graduation requirement. Today, only 11% of students complete this course, but every student needs to learn essential skills like how to make a budget, open a bank account, save and invest for their futures, and avoid high-cost debt. We are supporting legislation sponsored by Representative Moe Maestas to elevate personal finance from an elective to a graduation requirement. Read more about this reform.
- Maximize the amount of the state’s education budget that is spent in the classroom, rather than on school district central administration. We are working with Senator Bobby Gonzales to pass legislation will help ensure that the big investments that the governor and legislature are making in our schools will actually reach students and teachers in the classroom. The bill would limit the growth of school district central administrative spending to no faster than the Consumer Price Index or the overall growth in the state education budget, whichever is lower. Classroom spending would not be limited. So in good budget years like this one, when legislators and the governor are making significant investments in our schools, the vast majority of that funding will be directed to the classroom where the learning takes place. Read more about this reform.
- Reform the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) pension board. House Bill 51, sponsored by Representative Phelps Anderson and Senator George Munoz would require relevant financial qualifications for most of the members of this public pension oversight board that oversees $18 billion for nearly 100,000 public workers and retirees. Currently, no qualifications are required for board members. If PERA fails to meet its obligations due to poor board governance, all New Mexico taxpayers will be on the hook to make up any shortfall. Read more about this reform.
- End predatory lending. We are advocating for legislation that would lower the maximum annual interest rate on small loans from 175%, one of the highest rates allowed anywhere in the nation, to 36%, the national average. Read more about this reform.