Monday, February 20, 2012
Session's Over, How Are The Children? Recap of the 2012 NM Legislative Session
The following recap is from the NM Voices for Children.
Early Care and Education
Despite great support from across the state, two joint resolutions (HJR-15, Rep. Rick Miera and SJR-9, Sens. Michael Sanchez and Cynthia Nava) that would have allowed voters to fund early learning programs out of the Land Grant Permanent Fund, did not survive the committee process. A small amount of new funding for early learning programs was added to the annual budget, but it only brings overall funding back to 2010 levels. (See funding breakout below.) Sadly, these critical programs and services still receive about 1% of the state’s $5.6 billion general fund.
Medicaid received an increase in funding, but it was only enough to cover inflation. Enrollment for children has remained flat, but no new funding was added to enroll more eligible but uninsured children. Our thanks to Rep. Ray Begaye for his hard work on this issue. The Developmental Disabilities Waiver did get an increase of $2.7 million to help provide services to some of those on the waiting list.
Legislation to create the state’s health insurance exchange (required by the Affordable Care Act) did not pass. You may recall, a compromise exchange bill passed in the last session but Governor Martinez vetoed it. The Governor still plans to set up the exchange through executive action, which the Legislature is likely to oppose. A number of Memorials asking for studies or oversight did pass, but do not carry the weight of law.
Closing the Corporate Income Tax Loophole
A perennial bill (SB-9, Sen. Peter Wirth) to close a loophole that multi-state corporations can use to avoid paying income tax on their New Mexico profits finally passed! Unfortunately, it was amended so that it applies only to big-box retailers, which means some of the worst offenders—big banks—will still be able to take their self-appointed tax breaks. Still, this bill does help to level the playing field for local businesses and also lowers the corporate tax rate for everyone by .1%. The Governor has threatened to veto this important legislation, so please CALL her office (505-476-2200) and urge her to SIGN it!
Bills We Supported
- A joint resolution (HJR-28, Rep. Miguel Garcia) to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, allowing voters to have the state's minimum wage increase with inflation failed.
- Legislation (SB-1, Sen. Michael Sanchez) that would have provided additional consumer protections for homeowners facing foreclosure failed.
- Memorials urging Congress to correct the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision passed. New Mexico is the second state to pass such legislation.
Bills We Opposed
- Several bills to require voter photo identification failed.
- Attempts to repeal of the law allowing undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license failed.
- Legislation to reinstate the death penalty failed.
- Legislation to redefine marriage in order to prohibit same-sex marriage failed.
- Legislation to enact a Single Sales Factor Formula for computing corporate income taxes failed.
- Legislation that provides a tax break for the construction and manufacturing industries—and could cost the state $31 million over two years—passed.
- New Mexico’s state SNAP (Food Stamps) supplement was appropriated enough money to provide a minimum of $25 in additional benefits.
- The food bank fresh produce distribution program got an increase of $100,000.
- Native American Youth suicide prevention programs got $100,000.
- The Housing Trust Fund got an additional $3 million.
- The TANF program (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) got $700,000 to restore work-related expenses for TANF clients.
ECE Funding Breakout
- NM Pre-K received $4.6 million in additional funds, split between CYFD and PED.
- Home visiting/parent coaching received an additional $1 million.
- Child care assistance received an additional $3.6 million, enough to serve an estimated 800 of the 5,900 children on the waiting list.
- The T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program received an additional $150,000.
Thank you for all your phone calls this session and for your ongoing support of NM Voices' work to prioritize kids and families in our state!