Priorities include teacher raises, tax cuts, public safety and protecting voting rights – Los Alamos Reporter

FROM THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced her legislative priorities for the 2022 regular session of the New Mexico Legislature, centered on investing in policies and programs that will benefit students, workers, families, businesses and communities large and small across the state. Agenda highlights include increases for educators, tax cuts for New Mexico businesses, targeted violent crime legislative proposals, and initiatives to support New Mexico businesses and to diversify the state economy.

Accompanying the The Executive’s Budget Recommendation for FY23, the Governor’s Investment and Policy Plan for the 2022 Legislative Session encompasses a wide range of areas and policies all aimed at improving the well-being and opportunity of new Mexicans.
“This is a critical opportunity to strategically and responsibly invest in transformative programs that help New Mexicans build a stronger, brighter future,” Governor Lujan Grisham said. “This program supports a prosperous New Mexico, where we choose to proactively invest in families, communities, workers and businesses.”

In her first three years in office, the Governor has achieved all of the legislative priorities set out when she took office in 2019, including an increase in the state minimum wage; the creation and funding of an early childhood education and care department; legislative approval of a draft constitutional amendment to invest more in early childhood education; expanding access to free higher education; the establishment of an aggressive framework for low-carbon energy transition; the legalization of recreational cannabis; the growth of a thriving film and television industry; the creation of a state office of outdoor recreation; expanding access to affordable, high-quality health care and protecting provisions of the Affordable Care Act that new Mexicans rely on; cap insulin costs; eliminate copayments for behavioral health services; provide humane end-of-life options for the terminally ill; protecting access to reproductive health care; an extension of common sense gun safety laws; fix the state pension system; and more.

The governor’s priorities for the legislative session, which is due to begin on Tuesday, January 18, include:

EDUCATION

Offer raises to educators: The governor has proposed and is advocating for 7% raises for all public education staff, as well as increases to base salary levels for educators in the state’s three-tier licensure system, increasing teacher minimum salary levels to $50,000, $60,000 and $70,000, representing an average total increase of 35% in base salary levels since the Lujan Grisham administration took office. These increases would follow a 6% increase for public school staff authorized by the Lujan Grisham administration and legislature in 2019 and a 2% increase authorized in 2020.

Making free college a reality: Through the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship created in 2020, the Governor proposes to permanently remove financial barriers to higher education for New Mexico students, ensuring that New Mexicans do not have to to choose between financial security and the pursuit of their studies. The proposed $85.5 million increase to the Opportunity Scholars Program will cover tuition for all New Mexico students in higher education, including non-traditional students and those seeking credit certificates. An estimated 22,000 additional New Mexicans will be able to achieve their educational goals with this funding.

CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

  • Creation of a fund to hire and train more public safety officers: Investing $100 million in a new law enforcement recruiting fund with the goal of hiring and training 1,000 new police officers across the state in coming years will reduce competition among local agencies for personnel and support new recruiting initiatives. Public safety agencies at the state, municipal and county levels will be able to access funding to support hiring and retention and will be required to train new recruits supported by the fund in community policing and de-escalation techniques.
  • Keeping Violent Offenders Off the Streets of New Mexico: Imposing a ‘rebuttable presumption’ will help ensure those charged with murder, gun crimes, rape or other sex crimes do not pose a danger to the community before being released awaiting their trial.
  • Increase sentences for violent offenders: Increase penalties for second-degree murder from 15 to 18 years and remove the statute of limitations for this charge, in addition to increasing penalties for crimes committed with a firearm, including increasing the penalty for possession illegal possession of a handgun from misdemeanor to felony in the fourth degree; create a crime of “criminal threat” as a fourth degree crime; the addition of a third degree felony for fleeing law enforcement causing bodily harm and a second degree felony for flight causing grievous bodily harm; increase penalties for brandishing a firearm in the commission of a drug transaction.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • Reduced Gross Receipt Taxes for All New Mexicans: The governor has proposed a 0.25% cut in the statewide gross receipts tax rate, which would save New Mexicans about $170 million a year. The statewide rate is currently 5.125%; the governor’s proposal would cut the statewide rate to 4.875%. This would be the first cut in the state’s gross revenue tax rate in 40 years. A gross receipts tax is levied on all persons carrying on business in New Mexico and is similar to a retail sales tax.
  • Expand the Buy New Mexico initiative: The expansion of this initiative will support New Mexico businesses by increasing business preference for out-of-state companies in the state procurement code from 5% to 8%. The legislation would also make tribal businesses eligible to receive preference in the state, which is not allowed under current law. The proposal will also further support the state’s procurement preference for New Mexico veteran-owned businesses, removing a current sunset on the 10% resident-veteran preference and removing the $3 million revenue cap. dollars per veteran company.
  • Making New Mexico a National Hydrogen Hub: The Hydrogen Hub Act will implement state economic and fiscal incentives, create a clean hydrogen workforce, encourage research and studies into potential clean hydrogen applications, and establish pathways legal and technical for carbon sequestration and storage that will make New Mexico a regional and national hub. for the production, storage, use and export of clean hydrogen – boosting the economy and shifting state energy in a greener direction.
  • Creation of a national media academy: In conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Economic Development, the Governor proposes to devote $50 million in capital expenditures to create a Media Academy that better serves New Mexico students in the transition from employment education in the state’s thriving film and media industry, providing training, internships and other resources.
  • Expand job training and economic development programs: To continue to leverage the positive economic momentum in the state, sustained despite the pandemic, the Governor is proposing to increase resources for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) and the Local Economic Development Act ( LEDA). New Mexico’s JTIP and LEDA initiatives have collectively brought $5 billion in new capital investment to New Mexico with an expected economic impact of $30 billion since the governor took office.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Creating the Land of Enchantment link: The governor has proposed a new conservation fund, which will be funded by a $50 million general bond bond that will be placed on the 2022 ballot and administered by the Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources, which will allow the State of New Mexico to acquire land. and conservation easements; manage natural and cultural resources; and improving equitable access to outdoor recreation. An effort to uphold and support New Mexico’s pristine natural beauty and world-class outdoor activities, the Land of Enchantment Bond will complement ongoing conservation and preservation administrative efforts, including the 30×30 Executive Order of the Governor Lujan Grisham.
  • Achieve net zero by 2050: The Clean Future Act will establish the Governor’s ambitious climate goals into law, ensuring the state continues its progress across all jurisdictions. The legislation also directs the Ministry of the Environment to implement new regulations to reduce emissions in all sectors.
  • Establish a clean fuel standard: The Clean Fuel Standard Act will reduce the carbon footprint of New Mexico’s transportation sector while bringing $470 million in capital investment to the New Mexico economy and creating more than 1,600 permanent jobs and 4,100 construction jobs by 2030. By 2030, the law will result in the cumulative reduction of transportation emissions of approximately 18.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, or the equivalent of removing more than 570,000 petrol cars in circulation for a year.

HEALTH, WELL-BEING AND QUALITY OF LIFE

  • Significantly increase access to the ballot and support for the right to vote: Amid a wave of anti-democratic sentiment nationwide, including the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory ballot access policies in some other states, New Mexico will take steps to protect and expand the voting rights, including expanding online voter registration, providing additional protection for Indigenous voters. , and the creation of a permanent and voluntary mail-in ballot request list.
  • Support rural health care delivery: The governor will seek to create a Rural Hospital Services Fund, supporting hospitals in counties with populations under 100,000 by providing matching funds to cover a percentage of operating losses during the first few years of a hospital’s operation. or to support expanded services in an existing hospital. . This initiative would provide critical support for rural health care delivery in parts of the state too often underserved by available health care options.

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