AP NEWS

The Latest: New Mexico House passes sweeping tax changes

March 2, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a major tax reform bill pending in the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

The New Mexico House of Representatives has approved changes to the state tax code that would increase personal income tax rates and impose new taxes on e-cigarettes, nonprofit hospitals and online sales.

The Democrat-sponsored bill was approved on a 40-25 vote after an hours-long debate late Friday. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The sweeping proposal is designed to trim the state government’s dependence on income from the oil sector by increasing taxes to protect against another downturn.

Democrat Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque says bill is about diversifying the state’s economy, broadening the tax base and making the annual budget process more predictable.

Republican Rep. Jason Harper of Rio Rancho says at roughly $580 million, the changes would represent the largest tax increase in state history and would affect all New Mexico families, not just the affluent.

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12:30 p.m.

The New Mexico House of Representatives is poised to vote on changes to the state tax code that would increase personal income taxes on some households and impose new taxes on e-cigarettes, nonprofit hospitals and online sales.

The House was scheduled to vote Friday on the Democrat-sponsored bill designed to trim the dependence of state government on the oil and natural gas sector and shift the tax burden toward higher earners.

Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque says the promised benefits of prior income tax cuts never materialized and that reforms are needed to underwrite improvements to public education and roads. Republican legislators say it does not make sense to raise taxes when the state has a budget surplus.

The top rate for personal income taxes would increase to 6.5 percent.