News from the Session: November 2013 Newsletter
The 2014 legislative session is right around the corner. In this update, I invite you to upcoming events, preview some of my 2014 legislation and share a recent recognition.
New Mexico Taxes
On Wednesday, November 20th, Rep. Brian Egolf and I will discuss tax policy and the 2013 omnibus tax bill. This will be a good opportunity to learn more about New Mexico's tax code and the need for tax reform. The Santa Fe Democratic Party is hosting the event from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Road, in Santa Fe.
Effective Citizen Advocacy at the Legislature
Interested in impacting the legislative process? Join Rep. Jimmie Hall and me on Saturday, December 7th at a lobbying workshop sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The workshop runs from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Sandia Prep School, Student Commons, 532 Osuna Road, NE, in Albuquerque.
Water Dynamics and Water Policy
Climate change and drought are impacting New Mexico's water supply. On Sunday, December 15th, I will take a "high altitude" look at water issues in our state, discuss legislative successes as well as legislative challenges. 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.
Bills in the 2014 Legislative Session
My plan this session is to focus primarily on tax and water bills. Here are a few highlights:
Combined Reporting for Banks:
For nine 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 have to file combined returns and pay New Mexico corporate tax on profits earned in our state.
In 2014, I will introduce a bill to require out-of-state banks to pay the same corporate tax as their New Mexico competitors. There is no justifiable argument that Bank of America and Wells Fargo need a different set of rules than the New Mexico banks across the street. Here is a pdf link to the draft bill.
Water Harvesting Tax Credit:
Water conservation needs to be encouraged for all water users and there is a lot more we can do. At the domestic level, a great way to reduce water use is to capture rain off rooftops and use it for outdoor irrigation. Our sister states have laws to encourage water harvesting. The attached bill would create an income tax credit to recover 20% of the cost of a water catchment system. Here is a PDF link to the draft bill.
No Texting and Driving:
Handheld communication devices are becoming ever more prevalent. The "ping" of a new text message or email is distracting in all settings but can be dangerous in a vehicle. Studies show that texting while driving is six times more dangerous than drinking and driving. The attached legislation would explicitly outlaw texting and driving. Here is a pdf link to the draft bill.
Your input and thoughts on these bills is always welcomed.
Conservation Voters' Champion
One of the most effective advocacy groups in the state capitol is Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM). They are a strong voice for laws keeping our air clean, our drinking water safe and protecting New Mexico landscapes.
This year, it is an honor to again be recognized by CVNM as a Conservation Champion with a 100% conservation voting record. In its latest legislative scorecard, CVNM said this about my work as the Chair of the Senate Conservation Committee (SCONC):
"In the case of SCONC, Sen. Wirth's chairmanship represents a 180 degree turnaround from the previous leadership. Although the committee is still dominated by members who are more aligned with polluting industries than environmental protection, the tone and tenor of the conversation is vastly different. Thank you to Sen. Wirth."
As always, I look forward to working for you and with you in the state Legislature. While 2014 is a thirty-day "short session," there is a lot to be done.
State Senator Peter Wirth