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New Mexico State Senator Craig Brandt Responds to Bleak Employment Report from Governor’s Office

Forecast: New Mexico may not recover to pre-pandemic employment levels until late-2026

SANTA FE – Today, the Cabinet Secretaries of the Department of Finance and Administration and the Taxation and Revenue Department presented the Governor’s Consensus General Fund Revenue Outlook to the Legislative Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee. Despite the recent focus on additional revenue for the upcoming budget year, the report highlighted an increasingly bleak employment outlook as the state struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns by the Governor.

Senator Craig Brandt (District 40-Sandoval), a member of the committee, issued the following statement in response to the report:

“The report from the Governor’s Office highlights the fact that we will likely be dealing with the economic side-effects of our response to COVID-19 long after the pandemic has passed. Sadly, while our neighboring states are recovering steadily, forecasts indicate that New Mexico may not recover to pre-pandemic employment levels until the end of 2026. We now have the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation and we have lost around 40 percent of our small businesses. Whether you believe the Governor has handled the pandemic response well or not, these bleak figures certainly call into question her handling of the recovery.”


Senate Republican Leaders Renew Call to End State Tax on Social Security Benefits
SANTA FE – Following a recent report from the Legislative Finance Committee projecting $1 billion dollars in additional revenue for the upcoming budget year, Senate Republican leaders today renewed their call for a repeal of New Mexico’s social security tax on seniors. In previous years, Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly blocked Republican efforts to repeal the outdated tax, citing the loss of government revenue as their justification. 
“Today, we are calling on our colleagues in the Roundhouse and the Governor to pay more than lip service to our seniors by ending the state tax on social security benefits,” said Senator Greg Baca (District 29-Bernalillo and Valencia), Senator Craig Brandt (District 40-Sandoval), and Senator Mark Moores (District 22-Bernalillo). “This double tax has harmed our seniors for too long, particularly those living on a fixed income. In addition to supporting themselves, many are raising grandchildren and helping extended family survive the financial challenges of the pandemic. Repealing the tax on social security is one reasonable way to put more money in the pockets of those who need it most, and given the new revenue estimates, Democratic leaders no longer have any excuses. We have the funding to cover this. Now it is time to exercise the political willpower to get it done.”
During the 2021 Legislative Session, Senator Moores attempted to exempt social security benefits from income tax. Senate Democrats, however, defeated the measure during the final days of the session.
New Mexico is currently one of just 13 states to tax social security income, and among those states, New Mexico’s tax is the second harshest. The tax is often cited as a major reason why Kiplinger’s, Money Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and Wallet Hub consistently rank the state as one of the worst to retire in.

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