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Government

Special Session Brings Financial Relief To New Mexicans

The New Mexico State Legislature has approved tax rebates and relief payments of $500 to help pay for surging gas prices and other needs.

Lawmakers also approved $50-million worth of spending projects across the state during a one-day special session.

The Tax Rebate Bill will provide taxpayers $500 for a single filer and $1,000 for joint returns and head of households.
The payments will be divided in half with the first coming no later than June 30 and the second in August.       
Those who did not earn enough taxable income to file a state return will be given relief funds through the human services department.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter Wirth says it was a great day that will benefit all New Mexicans.

“You heard testimony about the cost of gas and this is a lot of tanks of gas and household services. Things New Mexicans really need,” he said. “I feel like the legislature delivered and did so in a really resounding way and (I’m) feeling good about where we are.”      

The appropriations bill known as the Junior Bill passed both chambers unanimously. That was the bill that was vetoed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham after the regular session because she said it wasn’t property vetted.

Wirth says with that now taken care of, the expenditures will bring needed improvements across the state.

One change to the Junior Bill was removing a one-million dollar appropriation for the Rail Runner. The money was to be used to offset a rate reduction for the commuter train.

But Senate Finance Chair George Munoz said with a large pot of Federal money already available, the Rail Runner can already cut fares if it wants to without more help from the legislature. 

“I’m assuming the (Executive Branch) proposed it, but we showed on a sheet the Rail Runner reserves of $62-million and they got $90-million in federal funding and so, where’s the need?”

Munoz later added that Rio Metro Regional Transit has agreed to lower their fares on a temporary basis, but no details have been released.