DALLAS — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is considering whether to approve or veto provisions for $137 million of bond projects.
The capital outlay requests were passed in the recently concluded legislative session, along with a $5.6 billion state budget and related bills.
Martinez has until March 7 to approve the capital outlay bill, which covers a variety of local projects across the state, ranging from water system and road improvements to a land purchase for Cannon Air Force Base.
The budget awaiting Martinez’s approval provides $5.6 billion for public education and government programs, including courts and prisons, in the budget year starting July 1. Spending would increase nearly 4%, or $215 million.
The Republican governor, who is now in her second year, has pledged to veto any measure that she deems pork-barrel spending.
One bill that Martinez has already signed provides a tax break for the construction and manufacturing industries that could lower state revenues by about $31 million over two years.
Other legislation that was approved included a tax break for businesses that hire returning veterans.
HB 184/256 will exempt from the gross-receipts tax specific products and services for construction and manufacturing businesses. The legislation is designed to reduce the cost that consumers pay for manufactured projects and new construction.
“This tax reform package shows our strong commitment to support New Mexico’s small businesses and compete for jobs,” Martinez in a statement.
“New Mexico has been imposing one of the highest burdens in the country on local contractors and small businesses — driving up construction and manufacturing costs in a way that deters companies from building and expanding in our state,” she said.
Martinez last week also signed SB 197, which will allow judges to impose additional financial penalties on public officials convicted of corruption, including the cost of the individual’s pension and other benefits.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Payne, R-Albuquerque, passed with bipartisan support.
“Corrupt public officials should not be allowed the benefit of their taxpayer-funded salaries and pensions,” Martinez said in a signing ceremony. “This measure sends a strong message that corruption in New Mexico will not stand.”
The legislation was prompted by a series of scandals at the Public Regulation Commission, which regulates everything from electric and natural gas rates to taxi fares and telephone bills.