Tax Plan Favoring the Well-Connected Dies in Party Line Vote
Tax Reform Bill 8 Dies in Committee
Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, House Democrats in the House Labor and Economic Development Committee rejected House Bill 8, a hastily created plan to reform New Mexico’s tax code that sought to balance the budget by increasing health insurance premiums on the sick, while carving out tax havens for hedge fund managers and the well-connected. With little time to understand the details regarding the bill’s impact on the state’s finances, concerned groups and citizens urged legislators to take the time to study who would be affected by such a comprehensive tax reform plan.
“It is vital that we strike a balance between what is good for all New Mexicans, the well-off, working families, and the poor,” stated Representative Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque). “Under this plan, healthcare costs would rise for working families, but there is nothing here to offset those new costs. Where is the shared responsibility? This bill lets those with the highest incomes off the hook.”
“If we pass this bill as it currently stands, New Mexico would have the highest health insurance rate in the nation,” said Representative and Chairman of the House Labor and Economic Development Committee Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla). “House Republicans are proposing a plan that is a lot like Trumpcare in that it balances the budget on the backs of sick people while at the same time carving out exemptions for hedge funds and capital gains for the well-connected. The fact that all current analyses associated with this bill are all over the place is another sign that this proposal was not ready for primetime. I do believe in the intention to reform our tax code, but this needs a lot more work to ensure it moves all New Mexicans forward.”
According to HB 8’s Fiscal Impact Report conducted by the Legislative Finance Council, there are so many unknowns about the bill that properly analyzing all aspects would create a report “at least as long as the bill itself” which numbers 430 pages, making it “difficult for legislators and citizens to understand.” Preliminary studies, however, show that state coffers would take an estimated hit of $100 to $150 million if such a plan were enacted, hitting hospitals, healthcare providers, and many patients the hardest.
As of today, the general budget plan, House Bill 1, that was passed by both the House and Senate includes an appropriation to study comprehensive tax reform and awaits the Governor’s signature.
House Bill 8, died in a party line 6-5 vote and will not be heard on the House floor.