Friday, March 22, 2013

Food Tax Stopped and Other Notes From the Recently Ended New Mexico State Legislative Session

The  New Mexico State Legislature has completed its 60-Day session, and one important action almost slipped under the radar: a last-ditch effort to reinstate a food tax.  Here is a note that Think New Mexico.posted on the day that the legislative session ended.

"We are delighted to report that a last-minute attempt to reimpose the food tax, which was rushed out of the Senate Finance Committee last night, was removed from the tax package that was passed by the Legislature in the final minutes of the session this morning.

Many thanks to all of you who sent in emails to your legislators on such short notice this morning! We heard from several legislators that your emails made a real difference in keeping groceries tax-free for New Mexico’s families. Special thanks as well to former Think New Mexico intern and freshman state Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque), who played a key role in defeating the food tax.

Other Developments
The New Mexico Lutheran Advocacy Ministry offered these updates on actions that the state legislature took regarding hunger and poverty
  • There is additional funding in HB2 (the state budget) for the state SNAP supplement to serve an anticipated increase in recipients due to changes in Social Security. 
  • SB416 (Sen. Richard Martinez & Sen. Bill Soules) would increase the state minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50. SB416 passed the Senate and the House with an exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employers and a 6 month training wage. SB416 is now on the Governor's desk.
And some notes from Farm to Table and The New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council
  • There was a push to add $1.44 million for New Mexico Grown Produce for School Meals to HB2. The Senate Finance Committee amended HB2 to include $100,000.
  • HB2 also contained continued provisions from HB100, which provided $85,000 in continued funding to promote and develop farmers markets in New Mexico
As you can see, it depends on Gov. Susana Martinez, who has the power to sign or veto legislation (including a line-item veto for the budget)  Stay tuned.

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