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NM Coalition Pushes Higher Taxes Over Cuts to Vital State Services

January 18, 2011

SANTA FE, N. M. - New Mexico state lawmakers start their session today, facing a budget deficit estimated as high as $450 million.

The Better Choices New Mexico Coalition is also set to launch its "10 Ways in 10 Days" campaign this week, to prevent further cuts to such vital state services as education, public safety and health care. Stephanie Maez-Gibson is communications director for the Center for Civic Policy, one of the nearly 40 coalition members.

"Each day, one 'Way' will be sent out that will highlight how New Mexicans would be hurt by continued budget cuts, and it will also highlight potential revenue measures that could help address this revenue crisis."

Maez-Gibson says protecting education is one of the coalition's top priorities.

"We encourage legislators to hold education harmless and to prevent any further cuts to the classrooms. The education budget is a good chunk of the state budget, and therefore, it could potentially take a pretty big hit if a budget is passed that does include cuts to state government."

New Mexico's new governor, Susana Martinez, is proposing overall cuts to state spending of around three percent, and no tax increases. The coalition favors increasing revenues by rolling back state income tax cuts for the wealthiest New Mexicans. Maez-Gibson says a proposal called Mandatory Combined Reporting would also help level the playing field for small businesses.

"Currently, New Mexico out-of-state corporations are not required to pay taxes on the profits that they earn in New Mexico."

Members of the Better Choices New Mexico Coalition include small businesses, faith, labor and nonprofit groups.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - NM