On Tuesday, the New Mexico Legislature reconvened upon request of scandal-ridden alleged serial groper Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The special meeting of the Legislature came after fierce bipartisan backlash following her veto of $50 million in junior money that would go to each representative’s district.
At the time, Lujan Grisham said she was “unconvinced” that the distribution of more than $50 million for projects across the state “upholds principles of fiscal responsibility.” This comes after she signed a mammoth $8.5 billion budget that included millions in funding for the Green New Deal, anti-gun programs, and taxpayer-funded “free” college.
Also included in the special session was an apparent attempt to buy votes by giving New Mexicans relief payments amid rising gas prices, but she refused to have the Legislature pass a tax cut on gasoline.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, these rebates are “payments of either $500 to individual adult taxpayers or $1,000 to households with joint income tax filers.”
The outlet reported:
The payments will be disbursed in June and August. That way, [Rep. Christine] Chandler said, the economic effect on the state will be split between two budget years — 2022, which ends June 30, and 2023, which begins July 1.
Single taxpayers will receive two payments of $250 each, and couples who filed joint returns will get two payments of $500.
Taxpayers who filed their returns electronically will automatically receive their payments via direct deposit into their bank account. The state will mail checks to others.
But many Republicans claimed the bill would violate the state’s anti-donation clause.
“The gas rebate bill ended up not being a gas rebate bill. HB 2 has nothing to do with gas tax,” said Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park).
“A rebate means you filed taxes, and you get a rebate on personal income. HB 2 had a ‘payment’ (not a rebate) portion in section 2 that not only violated the anti-donation clause of the NM constitution but it also had a financial cap with a first come first serve limitation.
We presented a substitute that would have removed the constitution violation, but it was denied.”
During the debate, Democrats claimed senior citizens did not know how to file taxes to attempt to ram it through. Rep. Eliseo Alcon (D-Milan) said, “Seniors don’t know how to do taxes.”
Illegal aliens and foreign nationals will receive money through the bill if they are registered with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The bill will cost taxpayers $700 million, which is taking more desperately needed money from the state’s general fund.
The bill passed 50-13 in the House of Representatives and by 35-1 in the Senate, with Sen. David Gallegos (D-Eunice) being the one vote against.