News from the Session: November 2014
The 2014 election is over -- thank you to all who participated. It's now time to put the extreme partisanship on the shelf and get to work for the citizens of New Mexico.
In this update, I invite you to upcoming events and preview legislation I have been working on for the 2015 legislative session.
New Mexico Campaign Finance and Ethics Panel
On Thursday, November 13th, I will join Viki Harrison, Executive Director of Common Cause, and Stuart Bluestone, Special Counsel to Attorney General King, to discuss campaign finance and ethics laws in New Mexico. The Santa Fe County League of Women Voters is hosting the event from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the conference room at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.
A Look at the Legislative Landscape post Election 2014
On Sunday, November 23rd, I will be speaking about the 2014 election and the upcoming 2015 legislative session. This talk is part of Journey Santa Fe's Sunday morning gatherings at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. It starts at 11:00 am and ends at noon.
Eldorado area Town Hall with Rep. Elect Matthew McQueen
The long tradition of Eldorado legislative town halls continues on Tuesday, December 9th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Performance Space in La Tienda. (7 Caliente Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508.) Let's welcome newly elected State Representative Matthew McQueen and discuss 2015 legislative priorities.
Effective Citizen Advocacy at the Legislature
Interested in being an effective advocate at the Legislature? On Saturday, December 13th, Senator Sander Rue (R. Albuquerque) and I will participate in a lobbying workshop sponsored by the New Mexico League of Women Voters. The workshop runs from 10:00 am to noon in Room 322 State Capitol.
Bills in the 2015 Legislative Session
My plan during the upcoming sixty-day session, is to continue to focus on tax, water and campaign finance bills. Here are a few highlights:
Combined Reporting for Out-of-State Restaurant Chains:
For ten legislative sessions, I have carried a bill to close New Mexico's corporate tax loophole. We are the last western state with a corporate tax that allows out-of-state companies to expense profits to subsidiaries and avoid paying New Mexico's corporate tax.
In the 2013 session, the Legislature took the first step to end this practice. As a result, most out-of-state retailers now file combined returns and pay New Mexico corporate tax on profits earned in our state. Why should out-of-state restaurants be treated differently from big box retailers?
In 2015, I will introduce a bill to require out-of-state restaurants to pay the same corporate tax as their New Mexico competitors. There is no justifiable argument that New Mexico's home grown restaurants, the type of small businesses that drive our economy, should have anything in the tax code making it harder to compete.
Adding Water Conservation to the Sustainable Building Tax Credit:
One of the most successful bills I have worked on during my ten years in the Legislature, is the Sustainable Building Tax Credit. This law, which Senator Dede Feldman and I first introduced in 2007, makes New Mexico a nation-wide leader in green built homes with 70% of new homes built in Albuquerque in 2013 being green certified. This year, Rep. Carl Trujillo (D. Santa Fe) and I are working on legislation to extend and expand this tax credit, adding water conservation to the requirements for eligibility.
Requiring Campaign Donor Disclosure:
Senator John McCain (R Arizona) sure got my attention when he said the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United was its "worst decision ever." Our democratic system of governance is under direct attack by massive donations from third party groups on all sides of the political spectrum.
For the last two years, I have carried a bill to require the so called "Super PACs" to disclose donors. It has twice passed the state Senate unanimously only to die at the last minute in the state House. This year I will try again. While we cannot limit the size of donations, voters at least have a right to know who is giving the money.
Your input and thoughts on these bills is always welcomed. I look forward to working for you and with you in the state Legislature.
State Senator Peter Wirth