Thursday, April 12, 2012
New Mexican Families Will Lose Out With Ryan Budget
Stats Show Potentially Devastating Losses
On Wednesday, former Albuquerque Mayor and Congressional Candidate Marty Chavez released the following statement on the Families USA reports (here and here) on the devastating losses New Mexican families could face if the Paul Ryan Budget became law.
“While everyone can agree we need to fix this deficit, I refuse to do it on the backs of New Mexico's working families and seniors who did nothing to create the problems we face today.
“This right-wing budget destroys Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. In Congress, I will hold Republicans accountable and fight to strengthen and improve these programs because it's unfair to ask seniors to shoulder higher costs while giving a tax breaks to the richest few.
“The reports released today explicitly lay out the damage that will be done to Medicaid and Medicare funding here in New Mexico and would reverse decades of progress toward giving New Mexican seniors, children and low-income families health care security.
“Through 2022, New Mexico stands to lose over $9.2 billion in existing Medicaid funding, $6.4 billion in Medicaid expansion funding, $8.4 billion in repealed tax credits in the Affordable Care Act and $1.3 billion in Medicare spending. As well, by repealing the Affordable Care Act, the GOP will leave over 280,000 New Mexicans without insurance during the same time period.
“This kind of wholesale destruction of health care security for the most vulnerable New Mexicans is completely unacceptable. The distance between the values and priorities that this budget are based on and mine could not be farther apart.”
As Mayor of Albuquerque, Chavez was a strong advocate for low-income families and directly funded Title 1 for the homeless and made sure that children of homeless families were provided breakfast and lunch at school. As well, Marty created the Elementary Schools Initiative to provide before and after school programs that included arts and crafts, field trips, recreation and study time.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Heinrich Calls for House Vote on “Buffett Rule”
With tax day fast approaching, U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich (NM-1) today called upon the House Republican Leadership to bring the “Buffett Rule” to the floor for a vote. The proposal, named after the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, who has made a point of saying that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, is a tax plan that ensures that Americans making $1 million or more a year pay their federal taxes at least at a 30 percent rate.
“The Buffett Rule goes a long way to make sure everyone gets a fair shot, pays their fair share, and that we all play by the same rules,” said Rep. Heinrich.
Today, the average tax rate paid by the very highest-income Americans has fallen to nearly the lowest rate in 50 years. The 400 highest earning Americans in 2008, who each made an average of $271 million, paid an average effective federal tax rate of just 18.1 percent. At the same time, a married couple making $70,000 paid a rate of 25 percent.
“No one likes paying taxes, but it would be a little easier to take if the system wasn’t set up to benefit the super rich at the expense of the middle class,” said Rep. Heinrich. “The way to stimulate job growth is to make sure the middle class can afford to stop putting off buying that new refrigerator or getting the family car fixed, not by engaging in trickle down tax policies.”
The Senate is expected to vote on the “Buffet Rule” on April 16, 2012.
Sunday, April 08, 2012
New Mexicans Ask Governor Martinez Not to Veto Any More NM Jobs
During a news conference Monday morning, several non-profit organizations will be rolling out a statewide public policy education campaign encouraging New Mexicans to ask Governor Susana Martinez not to veto any more New Mexican jobs. The paid media strategy follows the Governor’s recent vetoes of three bi-partisan legislative measures in particular:
- Funding for New Mexico’s MainStreet program, a program credited with leveraging close to 600 jobs last year along New Mexico’s main streets
- Senate Bill 9, which would have both closed a massive corporate tax loophole for “big box” retailers and leveled the playing field for New Mexico’s small businesses
- $23 million in capital outlay spending aimed at providing vital economic development in New Mexican communities that need it most
The program strategy includes both stagnant and digital billboards across the state, as well as a radio buy and online advertisements. Each of the ads directs audiences to a “DontVetoNMJobs.com” website, where viewers and listeners can learn facts about each of the Governor’s vetoes. An audio file of the radio advertisement can also be found on the website, as well as a petition encouraging visitors to ask Governor Martinez not to veto any more New Mexican jobs.
“Main Street New Mexico has been hurting,” said Melinda Rand Kenefic, an Albuquerque small-business owner whose 20-year business in Nob Hill was forced to close as a result of the recession. “Governor Martinez has chosen to support mega out-of-state corporations at the expense of homegrown New Mexico small businesses and New Mexicans should know that,” she added. Albuquerque’s Nob Hill has been an often-touted example of how the MainStreet program’s public-private partnerships can be leveraged to support private sector job growth.
In addition, the Governor vetoed a slew of capital outlay funds across the state, including money allocated by the New Mexico State Legislature for excellence training, assessment, and assistance for New Mexico businesses, and funding for the Tourism Department to promote New Mexico’s adventure tourism destinations. The Governor’s vetoes also included funding allocated for capital outlay in the state’s poorest counties, including 71% of projects in McKinley County, 88% in Mora County, 45% in Cibola County, 33% in Rio Arriba County, and 96% in Torrance County.
The billboard image, radio ad, and detailed facts about the Governor’s vetoes can be found at www.DontVetoNMJobs.com.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Civic Engagement Effort Fosters Values of Transparency, Accountability and Fairness
It’s a truth that should be self-evident – but it cannot be restated often enough.
New Mexicans deserve transparency and accountability – especially when it comes to votes cast on vital issues by their elected lawmakers. Typically, however, legislative decisions on complicated issues like tax policy fly under the radar of media scrutiny and public perception.
The last legislative session offers a perfect example with the historic effort to close that monstrous corporate tax loophole which allows out-of-state Big Box retailers to avoid paying income tax on the massive profits they earn in our state.
The Monstrous Corporate Tax Loophole
To be clear, calling it historic is not a nod to hyperbole. The bill to eliminate this massive corporate tax giveaway (Senate Bill 9 – the Corporate Fair Tax Act) succeeded in passing both houses of the New Mexico legislature this year after eight previous attempts over the last decade had met with failure. In fact, those prior bills usually failed because they were killed in the committee process.
Two committees in particular have proven to be a particular problem.
Tax reform bills must run what at times seem to be two impassable gauntlet -- the Senate Corporations and Transportation and the House Business and Industry Committees. And always, a phalanx of corporate lobbyists are posted at these gauntlets, standing guard to protect entrenched power and privilege. Their inordinate influence at the Roundhouse can make them into something akin to an extra-constitutional “third house” of the legislature.
But this year was different. These obstacles were surmounted and the bill passed! This was a landmark event and a time for celebration.
For this was the year legislators that got the message from their constituents – an newly informed citizenry who understood the fundamental value at stake in this fight – it was the value of basic fairness for New Mexico families and for our local businesses who had been placed at a competitive disadvantage.
Oh, and let’s not fail to mention that SB9 actually cut taxes for New Mexico business corporations and that it was a net job saver as well?
For every one job created by a big box retailer like WalMart, 1.4 jobs are lost to existing local businesses that downsize, according to a University of California-Irvine study.
Alas, the celebration was short-lived, for on March 6th SB9 crashed into the last redoubt of corporate power and influence – the Governor’s office. On that day Governor Susana Martinez vetoed SB9. Once again, New Mexico was left as one of the only remaining Western states to still permit itself to be taken advantage of by corporate greed.
What this means, of course, is that the fight for tax justice will go on a little longer. Rest assured that the bill will be coming back in the 2013 legislative session.
Check your mailbox
And this is precisely why constituents of a number of New Mexico state legislators are this week receiving post-session follow-up educational mailers that explain the fate of Senate Bill 9 and how their particular senator or representative voted on the bill, and encourage them to engage these lawmakers in a continued dialogue about tax policy and budget priorities.
New Mexico’s Center for Civic Policy (CCP) and the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) have proudly partnered to produce these mailings. Our two organizations share a core mission that obligates us to educate the public about policy issues that impact their lives and to foster greater civic engagement with the policy-making process and elected officials.
Prior to the legislative session, CCP and SWOP distributed another set of educational mailers to the districts of legislators who sat on those key committees that would hear and vote on SB9. To say that we were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to those pre-session mailers is an understatement. Those mailers contributed to generating hundreds of constituent phone calls to legislators during the session. And those phone calls made a difference.
We learned an inspiring lesson. Civic engagement (aka democracy in action) works! Legislators responded. Senate Bill 9 passed.
Civic Engagement Works
Democracy is never easy. It requires eternal vigilance and careful attention. And a constant learning and re-learning.
Another lesson worth relearning is that we must never forget that most legislators are seriously well-intentioned individuals who do care about the common good. New Mexico’s unpaid citizen legislators make considerable sacrifice to serve.
Nevertheless, we cannot stress enough the importance of our lawmakers hearing from their folks back home on the issues that impact the everyday lives of working families – because if they don’t get that call, the only voice they will hear at the Roundhouse when it’s time to vote is that of the corporate lobbyist whispering in their ears.
The incentives to do the wrong thing are ever-present. And sadly, herein lies another essential lesson.
All too often we see lawmakers succumb to lobbyist pressure (not to mention the inducement of campaign contributions). Thus, they take the easy way out. And it’s this go-along-to-get-along S.O.P that enables bad outcomes when it seems like nobody back home is really paying attention to the fuzzy policy details and that nobody really cares.
However, we’re pleased to report that people do care. And on the issue of the out-of-state, corporate tax loophole, polling released by the Green Chamber of Commerce shows that 70% of New Mexicans care a great deal!
The people just need accurate and complete information. And, above all, they need that spark of an idea that helps them realize that their participation can actually make a difference. Then they will act.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
NM Green Chamber Expresses Disappointment with Governor Martinez' Veto of Senate Bill 9
The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce expressed its deep disappointment with Governor Martinez' veto of a measure to close a tax-loophole that allows "big-box" companies to claim their profits in states that don't have corporate income tax. New Mexico is the last Western state that allows "big-box" companies to use this loophole to avoid taxes and shift the tax burden onto the backs of Main Street business.
Senate Bill 9 (SB9), sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth of Santa Fe, was approved by a bi-partisan vote in the 2012 New Mexico State Legislature, after nearly a decade of attempts. Martinez' veto means that New Mexico small businesses will continue to pay more in corporate income taxes than their out-of-state "big box" competitors.
"Vetoing SB9 keeps New Mexico owned businesses at a disadvantage against big-box stores," said Doug Zilm, NMGCC member. "As a grocery store manager, who pays his fair share of taxes because I'm part of this community, I'm terribly disappointed the Governor would protect this tax loophole for out-of state corporations. I'm worried that the Governor doesn't support the small businesses that support New Mexico."
Small businesses across New Mexico compete every day against out-of-state corporations and across the nation, small businesses have generated 65% of net new jobs over the last two decades. Whereas according to a 2007 study by UC Irvine, Clark and Cornell University, for every 1 job created by a store like Wal-Mart, 1.4 jobs are lost as existing businesses downsize or close.
On Monday more than 50 small businesses submitted a letter to Governor Martinez asking her to sign SB9 (http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1104335014834-205/NMGCC+Letter+to+GovMartinez.pdf)
If signed into law, SB9 would have lowered taxes on all corporations and mandated that out-of-state corporations with retail spaces more than 30,000 square feet in size report their combined earnings from all subsidiaries for tax purposes. Without mandatory combined reporting, many choose to file at alternative corporate addresses in states with no corporate taxes.
 www.newrules.org/retail/neumarkstudy.pdf by David Neumark (University of California-Irvine), Junfu Zhang (Clark University), and Stephen Ciccarella (Cornell University), IZA Discussion Paper No. 2545, Jan. 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Susana Martinez Stands with Large Out of State Corporations over NM Small Businesses
New Mexico Small Businesses and Families Disappointed In Governor’s Choice to Coddle Out-Of-State Corporations By Continuing Unfair and Unsound Tax Giveaway.
Today, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed Senate Bill 9, the “Corporate Fair Tax” bill, sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth of Santa Fe. As approved by both legislative chambers, the bill would have closed a loophole for "big box companies," lowered corporate income taxes, and leveled the playing field for New Mexico small businesses.
This cartoon sketch run in the Alibi April 2010 drawn by Lalo Alcaraz, could not be more true about Martinez. The Queen and her jesters outside the Roundhouse castle walls. Perfect image.
In a not so surprising but very disappointing move today Governor Martinez choose to favor big-box stores like Walmart and BestBuy over our NM stores like Baillos and many other NM businesses. In her statement she distorts the meaning of the bill which was discussed and vetted within the 30day session. Please read the bills history here, right from the legislative website, you can read what each committee did to the bill as far as amendments and who voted for the bill. It was a huge success to have this bill go through to floor votes in both the house and senate and pass in each chamber.
After nearly a decade of legislative attempts, the bill was approved by a bi-partisan vote in the 2012 New Mexico State Legislature and had been sitting on the Governor's desk for signature. Senator Wirth has been introducing the bill for the nearly decade. Senator Wirth deserves much appreciation from NM business's and citizen's for his relentless fight for tax fairness. He knows the history of the bill and can respond back to the opponents constant trickery of try this try that. Peter Wirth calmly says, "Good idea that was in the version in year 2008. And the republicans did not agree with that suggestion then." (paraphrasing). In Senator Wirth's statement of disappointment over Susana vetoing this good legislation. Senator Wirth says he will continue to fight for this bipartisan tax reform in future legislative sessions.
We are being taken advantage of
New Mexico is the last Western state that allows “big-box” companies to use this loophole to avoid taxes and shift the tax burden onto the backs of Main Street businesses. Thousands of calls were directed to the Governors office from her own citizens requesting her to sign this fair tax legislation. She has shown her true cards with this veto folks. She is not for small business. She is not for the struggling businesses and families in New Mexico. Martinez and every legislature who did not sign onto this bill is NOT for NM period. Pic to right by NM film sindication.
These large companies go to great extremes to not pay taxes in the community they are selling in. Wal-Mart, for example, created a holding company in Delaware for the purpose of transferring income in order to avoid income tax liability under New Mexico law. http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Opinion/myview/My-View--Michael-Mellon-Wirth-s-tax-bill-presents-dilemma-for-g
On Thursday, March 1, 2012, a coalition of community organizations submitted 5,000 signatures of New Mexicans urging the Governor to sign SB9. http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/03/01/north/gov-pressured-on-tax-measure.html
On Monday, March 5, 2012, the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce delivered a letter from 52 local businesses from around the state urging Governor Martinez to sign Senate Bill 9. http://www.nmgreenchamber.com/ChooseSmallBiz.
The SB9 also Lowered Taxes
A poll by Project New America demonstrated 70% of New Mexico voters support closing tax loopholes for out-of-state corporations while lowering the corporate income tax for all businesses that pay their fair share of taxes.
The NM Green Chamber of Commerce released this video outlining the impact of SB9 on small businesses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OSa4g9dPoA&feature=youtu.be
Martinez Vetoes SB9; updated with Senator Peter Wirth Statement
From Gov press release:
Governor Martinez also vetoed Senate Bill 9, a tax increase on an arbitrarily-chosen set of retailers that would kill jobs, pass higher prices on to consumers, and drive business out of the state.
"While proponents of this legislation may have had a few particular corporate targets in mind when pushing for this tax increase, the result would be much broader and raise taxes on businesses like grocery stores," the Governor said. "Increasing taxes on grocery stores, clothing retailers, and home improvement stores, while choosing to cut taxes for a different set of corporations - such as large banks, casinos, payday loan companies, or any other large corporation that pays corporate income tax - is not only misguided and arbitrary tax policy, but it's also not the way to foster economic growth in New Mexico."
“I’ve stated repeatedly that if this bill makes New Mexico less competitive, raises taxes, and drives up the cost of items that families and businesses buy every day, I would veto it – and it does just that,” the Governor concluded.
Senator Peter Wirth’s Statement on Veto of SB 9
I am extremely disappointed with the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 9. New Mexico businesses are the big losers today. This was a chance to lower the top corporate tax rate and begin the process of fixing our tax code which is a mess. Instead, the Governor sided with out-of-state “big box” retailers, letting them continue to avoid paying their fair share of New Mexico’s corporate tax.
Tax reform will not be easy. The broad support for Senate Bill 9 shows that New Mexicans and New Mexico businesses want tax fairness. I am committed to continuing a bipartisan tax reform discussion in future legislative sessions.
Tik Tok (not just a Ke$ha song!) Sign SB9 Susana!
Let's talk a little about the Governor's role after the legislative session!
Contact the Gov and tell her you want SB9 to get passed!
On the phone: 505-476-2200
Monday, March 05, 2012
52 NM Small Businesses Urge Governor Martinez to Sign SB9
Still no firm clear direction or information (only rumors) on what Susana will do with the SB9 bill which was passed this session and is waiting for her signature to become law. The law proposed is clear; you either support big box stores like Walmart to not pay their fair share of taxes to our state OR you support our local businesses who are paying their fair share of taxes to this state.
Many organizations are pushing for this tax fairness bill that has been being introduced in the Legislature for almost a decade. This important bill finally passed the Legislature, it is a no brainer that it helps the people of New Mexico, let's see which side of history our Republican Gov comes down on.
Below is the most recent release from The New Mexico Green Chamber.
Today the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce delivers a letter from 52 local businesses urging Governor Martinez to sign Senate Bill 9, which will close a loophole for "big box companies," lower corporate income taxes and level the playing field for New Mexico small businesses.
"Small businesses from Alamogordo, Las Vegas, Las Cruces, Silver City, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos are asking Governor Martinez to support their business and sign this bill," said Allan Oliver CEO NM Green Chamber of Commerce. "New Mexico small businesses are major job creators in our state and need a level playing field to compete with "big-box" stores."
SB9 Video.m4v www.nmgreenchamber.com/ChooseSmallBiz
Text of the letter is below:
Every day, New Mexico's small businesses compete with "big box" stores. But the playing field isn't level. "Big box" companies can claim their New Mexico profits in states that don't have corporate income tax, such as Delaware. New Mexico is the last Western state that allows "big-box" companies to use this loophole to avoid taxes and shift the tax burden onto the backs of Main Street businesses like mine.
Over the past 17 years, the small business community has generated 65% of net new jobs across the country.* For every $100 spent at a local business like mine, $45 returns to our community, compared with only $14 from big-box stores.* While big box stores on average cost taxpayers $468 per 1,000 square feet, small businesses generate a net annual surplus of $326 per 1,000 square feet.*
After nearly a decade of attempts, a bi-partisan vote by the New Mexico State Legislature approved Senate Bill 9 (SB9) to level the playing field for New Mexico's small businesses against "big box" stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Best Buy. That legislation is now sitting on Governor Martinez' desk for signature.
We, the under-signed small business owners of New Mexico, respectfully urge Governor Martinez to sign SB9 into law, lowering our taxes and leveling our playing field against out-of-state "big box" corporations.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Communications Workers of America (CWA) Launches Website to Urge Gov. Martinez to Sign SB9
Citizens of New Mexico can visit new website and urge Governor Martinez to sign legislation ensuring that out of state corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) launch www.OhSusana.org, a website where New Mexico’s citizens can urge Governor Susana Martinez to act in the interests of New Mexico small business owners and workers by signing SB9 – the Corporate Fair Tax Bill. The popular bipartisan bill will boost revenue by changing the state’s tax code to ensure multi-state corporations doing business in New Mexico pay their fair share of corporate income taxes. This legislation has also been endorsed by the Albuquerque Journal.
“Our state misses out on tens of millions of dollars in revenue every year—revenue that every other western state currently collects—because big out of state corporate interests maintain a lockjaw grip on the capitol. Susana Martinez has an easy opportunity today to change that balance of power and give New Mexico small business an opportunity to succeed. She should level the playing field so that every business, not just businesses incorporated only in New Mexico, pays state income tax to benefit our municipalities, schools and roads,” said Michael O’Reilly Proprietor of Pranzo Italian Grill in Santa Fe.
"Small Business owners in NM are paying income tax on their profits, while out of state based corporations who compete with them day in and day out are allowed to avoid taxes on their profits,” said Herb Cohen, former small business owner of Steaksmith in Santa Fe. “This is unfair to all who support our state's needs and it makes local small business less competitive in the process."
New Mexico is the only western state to operate under an imbalanced tax structure which allows corporations to use a tax loophole to avoid paying taxes. This loophole also puts small businesses in an untenable position of having to compete with big box stores while being forced to pay taxes that the big box stores- like Wal-Mart- are not. The SB9 bill would level the playing field for small businesses.
“Governor Susana Martinez has the opportunity to stand with hundreds of thousands of New Mexico small business owners and workers,” said Miles Conway, CWA NM. “We hope that she puts the interests of New Mexico above those of corporate lobbyists.”
Governor Martinez has until March 7 to sign or veto SB9.
Visit www.OhSusana.org to learn more about why Gov. Martinez should sign SB9.
Friday, February 24, 2012
We gots to get this bill signed! SB9
Great creative video from ClearlySK. Describing the SB9 bill and how important it is for Governor Susana Martinez to sign it into law. Keep our tax dollars here in New Mexico.
When life hands you lemons, make those lemons pay their fair share in taxes.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Governor Martinez, Can't You See the Elephant in the Room?
From ProgressNow New Mexico.
"We can do so much more to level the playing field for our small businesses, to put more New Mexicans back to work."
-Governor Susana Martinez, 2012 State of the State Address
Earlier today, Governor Martinez signed into law her self-described "Major Tax Reform Package" that benefits her campaign donors while costing state and local governments $50 million per year in lost revenue. Noticeably absent from this "major" package of bills is SB9, the bi-partisan legislation that would lower the tax burden on all of New Mexico's most successful businesses.
SB9 is now the infamous "elephant in the room," as it represents the most common-sense measure to level the playing field for New Mexico businesses, but is one the governor has yet to sign. SB9 would close the egregious tax loophole that allows "big box" stores like Best Buy to pay a lower tax rate than established local businesses like Baillio's. Unlike the bills Martinez signed today, SB9 is a revenue neutral bill that would reward our most successful businesses by lowering their corporate income tax rate, thus allowing them to create new jobs and invest in our local communities.
Instead of ensuring local businesses have a fair marketplace in which to compete, the tax bills Governor Martinez signed today will reduce taxes exclusively for the construction and manufacturing sectors, two industries that contributed almost $900,000 to Martinez's gubernatorial campaign. These contributions included more than $350,000 from home builder Bob Perry, her single largest individual donor.
"The legislature gave the governor the tools to reward every successful New Mexico business, not just those who can afford to give the biggest political donations. Let's hope that the governor does the right thing and signs SB9 into law as part of her next tax reform package," says Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico.