Gas tax increase stopped; reduction in health insurance premiums preserved
The 54th New Mexico Legislature adjourned February 20, 2020, with a couple of NFIB victories in the defeat of a costly tax increase and the preservation of reduced health insurance premiums.
Defeated a Bill to Double the State’s Fuel Tax
NFIB helped lobby for the defeat of House Bill 173, which would have more than doubled the state’s fuel tax. Issuing an Action Alert to its members to call their state lawmakers and ask them to vote no on the proposal, the plan to raise the fuel tax from 17 cents per gallon to 47 cents per gallon over time was defeated. The proposal would have fallen hardest on small businesses transporting goods, services, and people. New Mexico currently has one of the lowest fuel taxes in the region and with the oil boom in the southeastern part of the state, many opponents questioned the need to raise new taxes.
Stopped Attempt to Wipe Out Health Insurance Premium Reductions
Last year, in a bipartisan effort, Congress suspended the Health Insurance Tax, which provided a reduction in premiums for all small-business owners and their employees, seniors, and other consumers. NFIB was part of a coalition of business groups supporting the effort to repeal the health insurance tax.
But the New Mexico House of Representatives wanted to deny that relief with House Bill 278, which would have raised the state’s surtax on premiums from 1% to 3.25%. HB 278 passed 41-25, forcing NFIB to redouble its efforts in stopping it in the State Senate by issuing an Action Alert to its members. NFIB and its members were ultimately successful in ensuring the demise of the measure in the State Senate.
Legislation to Increase Minimum Wage and Mandate Paid Sick Leave Never Got Off the Ground
Two separate pieces of legislation seeking to increase the minimum wage to $15 and mandate 12-weeks of paid sick leave never got off the ground during the 30-day legislative session. The bills as introduced were sent to the House Rules and Order of Business Committee and never received a message from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to be put on the call for the budget-focused short legislative session. During the first week of the session, NFIB members were encouraged to write their legislators and urge them to protect small businesses from employer mandates and minimum wage increases.