Think New Mexico has an ambitious agenda during this year’s strange, all-virtual legislative session. With no advocates or members of the public allowed in the Roundhouse, your emails and calls to legislators about these issues are more important and impactful than ever. Here are brief summaries of the bills we are working on, with links to our Action Center so you can contact your legislators and the governor about any of them:
- Ending predatory lending: we are working with the other members of the New Mexicans for Fair Lending Coalition to pass Senate Bill 66. This bill 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 it, and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Making financial literacy a graduation requirement: we are supporting House Bill 83, House Bill 163 and Senate Bill 170 to make a one-semester course in financial literacy a graduation requirement for New Mexico’s high school students, based on Think New Mexico’s recommendation in our 2020 policy report. Read more about it, and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Making the infrastructure funding process transparent: we are supporting House Bill 55, which would require disclosure of the sponsors of appropriations for capital outlay projects. This is one of the last pieces of the legislative process that is still conducted behind closed doors. Learn more about this issue, and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Preventing the taxation of delivered groceries: New Mexico’s regressive tax on groceries was repealed in 2004, but during the pandemic, we learned that some grocers were taxing food delivered to peoples’ homes. The problem was an ambiguity in the law, which exempts groceries purchased “at” grocery stores. Think New Mexico is supporting House Bill 98, an omnibus tax code clean-up bill that will ensure that any food sold “by” grocery stores (not just “at” the stores) will not be taxed. Learn more and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Repealing the double tax on Social Security for most New Mexico seniors: we are supporting House Bill 19, which would repeal the state’s tax on Social Security income for seniors who have total incomes of less than $72,000, or $120,000 for a married couple, which includes more than two out of every three seniors in New Mexico who are currently paying taxes on their Social Security income. The bill is revenue neutral to the state because it adds a new transfer tax of 0.75%-1.25% on the sale of properties worth more than $500,000. Learn more and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Maximizing dollars to the classroom: over the last decade, more than two-thirds of school districts across New Mexico (61 of 89) grew their central office administrative spending faster than their classroom spending. Think New Mexico recommends that the legislature and governor include language in the state budget to ensure that more of the state’s education budget will reach students and teachers on the frontlines. Learn more about this issue, and contact your legislators and the governor!
- Increasing qualifications for the PERA pension board: currently, no member of the PERA pension board, which oversees $15.8 billion for 90,000 public workers and retirees, is required to have any experience or expertise in financial or investment management. This session, Think New Mexico is supporting House Bill 162 to require that every member of the PERA board has relevant qualifications. Learn more about this issue and email your legislators and the governor!