Putting people over political games: What’s at stake in the NMLEG special session
What time is it? Time to show Gov. Martinez that New Mexicans won’t stand for more cuts to education, won’t stand for regressive taxes on our hardworking families (like the food tax she supports), and we won’t’ stand for her political gamesmanship that’s seen our state’s credit rating downgraded and our entire higher education system defunded.
Also known as: the 2017 special session of the New Mexico legislature.
The special session is just minutes old and we’re about to see the months-long standoff between the Democratically controlled House and Senate and the governor come to a head.
So, what’s at stake in this special session?
The legislature passed a responsible, bi-partisan budget earlier this year that protected education, health care, and public safety while keeping NM out of debt. Gov. Martinez then proceeded to veto the revenue bill the House and Senate passed to fund the state budget and then vetoed every cent of funding for New Mexico’s higher education system and the legislature itself. Every cent.
Her vetoes were reckless and likely unconstitutional and the legislature even took the governor to court over the issue.
“The vetoes have wreaked havoc on the ability of higher education institutions and their students to engage in rational planning for the fall semester, hurt faculty recruitment efforts, and jeopardized accreditation and financing…The vetoes also jeopardize public health because they eliminated more than $18 million intended for hospitals associated with universities.”
Then, the governor called the legislature back into special session because someone has to fix her mess.
But instead of focusing on the well-being of students and workers across the state by working with House and Senate leadership to focus on a solution to fund higher education and the legislature and make sure the state has the funding it needs, she let her political ideology guide her (natch).
The governor then tried to deflect from her rightly-due blame for the current mess by demanding the legislature consider and pass giant, complex tax reform in a one- or two-day special session. Tax reform, it’s important know, that would hurt working families most by reinstating the food tax, making healthcare more expensive, and taxing charities and non-profits.
Luckily, Democratic leadership said her proposal to rush complex tax reform (many facets of which would hurt working families most) is dead on arrival.
And in the first minutes of the special session both the House and Senate showed their backbone and moved to override the governor’s reckless vetoes. Sadly, the override vote failed in both the House and the Senate (it failed 26-15 on party lines in the Senate and failed 39-29 in the House on almost party lines — the override would have needed 28 votes to pass in the Senate and 46 in the House).
Now the work begins for both houses of the NM legislature to fix the governor’s mess and ensure there are no more cuts to the programs and services New Mexicans rely on daily.
We’ll be at the special session everyday so stay tuned to ProgressNow NM for how this all plays out.
In the meantime, use your social media channels to let the governor and our legislature know you’re paying attention and won’t stand for any more cuts to education or healthcare and won’t stand for the governor putting her politics before the people of New Mexico: