Huge tax package can put education, public safety and health care on the chopping block

Huge tax package can put education, public safety and health care on the chopping block

The omnibus tax package (House Bill 547) passed by the Legislature and awaiting action by the Governor rings alarm bells for New Mexicans like us who remember what ultimately pays for tax cuts when ‘they are done too deeply and too quickly: the education of our children, public safety and the quality and access to health care.

If passed, this law would cost the state $1.1 billion a year. While that may be doable this year, it frankly won’t be when oil and gas revenues decline, which unequivocally remain the state’s main source of funding.

You don’t have to look far to see the terrible effects that such massive and brutal tax cuts can have on our children and our families. In Kansas, huge tax cuts enacted in 2012 led to devastating cuts to education. School districts have fired teachers, ended the school year early and, in some cases, closed entire schools.

With 56 cents of every dollar in our state’s budget spent on education and an additional 27 cents on public safety and health care, it doesn’t take an economist to see that we could be headed for cuts the size Kansas in classrooms, hospitals, police stations, and beyond. In New Mexico, we have seen time and time again the consequences that result from a significant drop in oil and gas revenues – and too often they fall on New Mexico families.

Governor Lujan Grisham and the Legislature have done a respectable job of investing in education, health care and our economy while keeping reserves strong and setting aside some of today’s money for years to come. come. This administration has also enacted a series of responsible and effective tax cuts over the past four years that are already saving low- and middle-income New Mexicans half a billion dollars.

To be clear, the fiscal package includes many laudable policies when individually assessed – and the legislature deserves credit for crafting them – but taken together they present the state with a recurring price not worth the risk of long-term investments in education, health care and public safety. We need our elected officials to make decisions today that protect New Mexico families from the loss of services in the years to come.

As elected leader of New Mexico, Governor Lujan Grisham has a responsibility to future generations of New Mexicans to veto this bill. At the very least, it needs to be scaled down to a more responsible size.

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