Monday, February 8, 2010

In Case You Missed the Denish-Lujan Spat ...

On Friday night, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's office released the following statement regarding the gross-receipts tax increase passed by the House that night.

After the New Mexico House today voted in favor of a .05% gross receipts tax (increase), Lt. Gov. Diane Denish voiced her strong opposition and announced that if a Senate vote resulted in a tie, she would vote against this harmful tax on New Mexico families.

“During these tough economic times, the last thing New Mexico families need is a tax increase on all of their purchases and I won’t support it,” said Lt. Gov. Denish. “Instead of trying to balance the budget on the backs of New Mexico’s most vulnerable families, legislators need to get serious about reforming state government. If a tie-breaking vote is needed in the Senate, I will swiftly vote against this unfair tax on everyday New Mexicans.”
Denish, in case anyone is unaware, is running for governor.

The next day, House Speaker Ben Lujan's spokeswoman released this:

During this 30-day legislative session, members of the House of Representatives have developed a plan to raise revenues in order to solve New Mexico’s budget shortfall while protecting vital programs which assist and benefit all citizens of this state. After the House voted in favor of a .05% gross receipts tax, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish announced that if a Senate vote resulted in a tie, she would vote against it. This negative response was unexpected and unfortunate as described by Speaker of the House Rep. Ben Lujan:
“The House has worked hard to send to the Senate a budget plan with revenue enhancements to support a responsible fiscal budget that minimizes additional cuts to education, health and essential services. It is unfortunate that the Lt. Governor opposes the courageous action taken by the House with support from education, health and labor advocates. It would have been helpful during our discourse if she would have shared her ideas on how to keep education whole and provide the necessary resources to match federal dollars for Medicaid,” said Speaker Lujan. “None of us take pleasure in imposing additional taxes, but the reality is that there are glaring needs we must address and the majority felt this was unfortunately one of the few choices we had without imposing additional cuts. As to her vote in the event of a tie, her comment is not only premature, but totally unnecessary.”