On Monday, the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee voted 6-5 to table S.B. 11, a proposal mandating up to 12 weeks of “paid family leave” for all New Mexico businesses.
The move would have been a multi-million dollar tax on employees that would have forced small businesses and employees to pay into a fund for paid leave.
According to the group Better Together New Mexico, “SB 11, the Paid Family Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) is estimated to cost well over $400 million dollars if it becomes law. This act forces employees and employers to pay out of pocket into a fund managed by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. That’s the same agency that overpaid an estimated $250 million dollars in unemployment benefits during 2020-21.”
“Many New Mexicans are already dealing with the financial strain of inflation, and for many families, an additional .5% of their wages would go into this state-managed fund.”
The bill carried by Rep. Linda Serrato (D-Santa Fe) died with two Democrats, Reps. Patricia Lundstrom (Gallup) and Marian Matthews (Albuquerque) voting with all four Republicans against the costly measure.
“Lundstrom also expressed concern about the long-term solvency of the initial fund, saying it’s likely businesses would have to pay more to keep it afloat down the line,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
With the 2023 Legislative Session ending at noon on Saturday, the bill is undoubtedly dead.
Supporters of the extreme bill, including AARP New Mexico, told reporters they are optimistic the bill will come back in another legislative session, despite its extreme cost to businesses and workers, who would be significantly taxed for the socialized program.