NM House Dems vote to give themselves taxpayer-funded salaries

On Saturday, all but one New Mexico House Democrat voted to give themselves salaries on the backs of the state’s taxpayers. The proposal, H.J.R. 8 by Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Doña Ana), passed the House chamber on a 40-24 vote, with Rep. Ambrose Castellano (D-Ribera) joining all Republicans in rejecting the measure.

The chamber debated the resolution for three hours, with Republicans offering an amendment to cap the salary at the median household income of an average New Mexican, which is approximately $54,000 annually. 

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo), was rejected on a party-line vote after a lengthy debate. Democrats advocated for a commission to set the salary without any parameters by the Legislature on how the amount should be set.

Currently, legislators in New Mexico do get paid a per diem, which is $176 a day for a House member and $181 a day for senators. For House members during the 60-day session, they receive $10,560, and senators receive $10,860. They also receive per diem for interim committees that meet throughout the year and, after ten years of service, receive a generous pension. 

Despite the compensation legislators receive, Democrats erroneously claimed New Mexico is the only state in the country that doesn’t pay its lawmakers. However, New Mexico’s system is quite generous versus states like New Hampshire, which pay their legislators only $100 without per diem, or Utah, which pays $285 per legislative day. Currently, New Mexico lawmakers make around $22 per hour based on eight hours of work for the per diem rate.

During the debate, Rep. Alan Martinez (R-Bernalillo) said he is “uncomfortable” voting for legislator pay, saying it incentivizes politicians “to stay here and become entrenched in the system.”

The resolution now heads over to the state Senate for consideration. However, it is unclear if it will pass the chamber with only around 13 days left in the legislative session. If it does pass the Senate, it will go on the 2024 general election ballot for voters to approve or reject the measure. 


26 thoughts on “NM House Dems vote to give themselves taxpayer-funded salaries”

  1. I think this is a good policy and will encourage professionals to run for the legislature. Only making under $11,000 limits the people who will run.

    1. Define ‘professionals’~Oh, that’s right, we have those running the federal gov’t and destroying this country!

    2. I disagree. Payment of a salary will keep politicians ensconced in their positions forever. It is one of the federal problems that haunt the US.
      “Professionals” in what? Keeping the compensation limit lets people who truly want to serve for the people’s sake not their own enrichment. It’s easy to spend other peoples hard earned money that’s what happened in California, and New York. Sorry but you might want to watch a few of the hearings on webcast to see your legislators at work. https://nmlegis.gov/ go to webcast tab. All the hearings are there.

      1. We’re one of the poorest states per capita and greedy Dems want more money to destroy our freedom led by the midget

  2. Political greed. Do away with the pension plan and put term limits and maybe the taxpayers of New Mexico will approve an annual salary.

    1. I agree with you…there are very companies offering pension plans, why should the legislators receive one. Also, term limits are a must so we dont create lifelong politicians.

    2. Well said Mr. Tafoya and cutting out the pension plan is genius.
      A lifelong N.M. resident, I had never known about any such thing, although I heard many complaints about their pay, but that pension scam needs to be shut down yesterday and the money returned to the general fund.
      Term limits are necessary to cut out the graft and corrupt practices from the Round House.
      We have too many laws as it is, God knows the mischief a “professional” political class could get in to.

  3. Just like our democrat voter representatives to know that the sheep will go to the ballot box and do as the democrat party wants and votes for these salaries. How long has it been since they put these amendments on the ballots and where they were rejected? We give schools our property tax, we give them money from the permanent fund then, they want us to pass a bond issue for the children. All this money and we are still 50th or last in the nation in education. We stop passing the bond issues and let the schools live off what they get every year, then maybe we will rise from last in the nation, maybe up a few and follow the example of Mississippi. Follow the lead of our leaders in Santa Fe and we will never get out of last place for anything, just keep voting for what they put in front of us .

  4. When Susana Martinez was governor, they voted that their emails be kept private. They can write anything they want and it can’t be used against them. Gee – I wonder why they’d want that? Were they planning something? I ran across that little tidbit by accident and it struck me as suspicious. Why would they think they needed to have their emails kept private? I would really like to know the purpose of such a thing!

  5. Sorry to be so negative but them getting paid is just disgraceful. They’re so partisan!! And the longer they’re there, the more obtuse they get!!

    What I’d like to know is why do they need to be paid? The dems have such a majority that there really isn’t a reason for Republicans to be there at all. They can and do pass legislation without Republicans in attendance in some committee meetings and during the full sessions. How is that even legal? I do support term limits – some of them have been there since the 90s. With them being paid, they’ll be even worse than Washington! Since my senator and rep. are both dems, there isn’t even any point in contacting them!

  6. My God! That “legislator” looks like she just came in from milking the cows. Ben Lujan is spinning in his grave…he wouldn’t even allow bolo ties.

    1. Indeed, hardly dressed “professionally.”

      And, how about those 2 empty Dem’s seats just behind the speaker? They want to get paid more for skipping out of their obligations to the constituents!

      Good grief.

  7. Most of our officials are not professional, many are liars, mine does not answer phone calls or emails. They do not need to be paid a salary because if it was a regular job most would be fired by the 3rd day. We need people with heart, commonsense, smarts, and do what is right, and what the people want. Currently less than 25% of NM politicians fit these requirements. The governor is not one of them.

  8. Stephanie McKenzie

    we have the example of the abuses of the Federal congress who continually vote themselves more money and greater retirements and even their own medical insurance – which we all pay for even if we cannot afford any of that ourselves. Why would we vote to have the same problems here in New Mexico. And we don’t need ‘professionals’ in the legislature, we need people who are out here working and experiencing the problems we all face so that they can focus on fixing what concerns New Mexicans.

  9. Government pensions are out of control already!

    The private sector retirement has all but completely disappeared, yet government employees enjoy lifetime payment on the backs of people living paycheck to paycheck their whole lives.

    Government now gets set up for life, and not only is that attracting people who get entrenched, it’s preventing whistleblowers and dissenting opinions because they’re afraid to stand up against corruption, lest they lose their pension!

    Well, most of them already serve themselves and their own egos anyway, might as well pay themselves for it too!

  10. So 54G for 60 days… GOOD GRIEF – I’m sure that would be just a beginning. AND as we know people SELDOM read proposed spending bills – they usually just vote to spend, spend, spend. IT’S SO EASY to spend someone else’s money.

    Thanks John for explaining what reps and senators currently receive. It does clarify a lot.

  11. If it’s on the 20204 ballot …..We Shall All VOTE NO on it!!!! They keep forgetting they are public servants!

  12. Why not let them participate in insider trading just like the US Congress does? We know how professional those elected officials are.

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