Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced that she has signed SB 10, legislation passed during the recent special session that provides approximately $86 million in funding for capital projects throughout New Mexico. The bill focuses funding on projects of regional and statewide importance, a key reform that Governor Martinez has instituted to ensure that capital dollars are focused on statewide projects that will have a broad impact, as opposed to local pork projects.
Included in the legislation is funding for IT equipment for the Human Services Department that will help to better facilitate the delivery of Medicaid, TANF, and other social services, as well as law enforcement and senior citizen service vehicles, much-needed upgrades to state corrections and health facilities, and a dramatically scaled down set of statewide construction projects.
Alongside business and labor organizations, as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the Governor supported a larger capital outlay bill, totaling $212.7 million, because it would have provided over $170 million in funding for construction projects that would have created jobs for New Mexicans, beginning during the winter season. It also contained over $40 million in funding for road maintenance throughout the state, which has greatly suffered in recent years.
"This bill provides necessary funding to a number of important projects throughout the state of New Mexico, and I am pleased to sign it. It also reflects my commitment to ensuring that capital outlay funds are used to support projects of regional and statewide importance," said Governor Martinez. "However, legislators had the opportunity to support projects that would lead to New Mexico businesses hiring New Mexico workers right away, and instead, they signaled to struggling contractors and unemployed workers that they simply need to wait."
Legislators also failed to even consider a fix to the high-wage tax credit law that took effect in 2004, which provides a tax credit to companies that open their doors in New Mexico and create high-wage jobs. Due to a recent interpretation of language in the bill that would dramatically reduce the size of the tax credit, a simple change in the law would have not only made it consistent with how it has previously been applied in New Mexico, but would also ensure predictability for the businesses that utilize the tax credit and the workers who are employed by them.