Rather than "reinvent the wheel," I'm going to forego posting an original note on the new proposal to reimpose the food tax and pass on two notes about this issue. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the proposal to reimpose the levy is endorsed by The Albuquerque Journal. The newspaper mentions taxing groceries (along with levying new taxes on alcohol and tobacco) as part of an overall plan to raise revenues for our cash-strapped state.
Anyway, here are the counter arguments.
Think New Mexico
2013 and 2014 to bring back the food tax. Other groups like New Mexico Voices for Children have also sounded the alarm about the negative impact of the proposal.
Last Thursday, the New Mexico Revenue Stabilization and Tax Committee considered legislation to reimpose the regressive food tax on New Mexico families (see coverage of the committee hearing from KRQE News 13). The bill the committee reviewed will go to the full legislature for passage during the 2017 session, which begins in just four weeks.
We are very concerned that this bad idea appears to be gaining momentum, and we need your help to stop it: please contact your legislators and the governor today and ask them to oppose any "tax reform" bill that reimposes the food tax!
You may recall that there have been several attempts to reimpose the food tax over the past six years, and thanks to your help, we have managed to stop every one of them, from the "tortilla tax" that was line-item vetoed in 2010 to the food tax that was tucked into a complicated tax package by the Senate Finance Committee the night before the session ended in 2013.
This year's attempt is particularly serious, as the legislature is searching for new revenue to address the ongoing budget crunch. The food tax is being presented as an essential piece of a much larger "tax reform" package aimed at raising revenue for the state. Yet the legislators pushing the food tax have not answered one important question: how is it that 34 other states are able to balance their budgets without taxing food?
Statement from Archbishop John Wester
|At food pantry, St. Francis Xavier|
"Pope Francis on Saturday touched millions of hearts in his message about the poor. 'Why speak about the poor? Look to Christmas.' he said.
"Pope Francis went on to say, 'The fact that Christmas is almost upon us reminds us of the way in which God entered the world: born of the Virgin Mary and, like all children, wrapped in swaddling clothes, picked up, nursed. Not only He, but His mother and Joseph had to contend with the fact that there was no room for them at the Inn.'
"The Holy Father continued: 'The good news, the announcement of His birth, is not delivered to the king and princes, but to shepherds…this is our God. Not the wholly ‘other’, but totally the neighbor.'
"My friends, our neighbors are hungry! At this time of preparation for Christmas, countless non-profits and civic organizations work to fill food baskets, but some legislators want to take food out of another basket – the grocery basket – with their proposed Food Tax.
"We have recently seen in the media the discussion in legislative interim hearings of reinstating the food tax. This 'Tortilla Tax', as many have labeled it, only shifts the burden onto the poor and working families. What makes this idea even more obscene is that New Mexico ranks second highest in the nation for children living in hunger and the first highest for children living in poverty. Last year, 82% of births in New Mexico were Medicaid-eligible.
"New Mexico has already been down this debate path before when we repealed the Food Tax in 2004. There was an attempt to pass the infamous Tortilla Tax in 2010 which was vetoed, and rightly so. I call on all New Mexicans to oppose the reinstatement of the Food Tax.
"My friends, as we sit down for our holiday dinners, let us be mindful of our children and hungry neighbors. Say 'NO' to taking food out of the grocery basket!"