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Before You Raise Our Taxes

Legislators who are interested in continuing to serve past November 2010 would be wise to consider cleaning up the mess that is state government before further increasing our taxes. A good place to start might be with the people put on the government payroll that do little more than collect a check:

One of them is Charles Lipski Sr., who was hired at the Department of Transportation two months before the freeze, at $65K a year, with a resume that had his last job ending in 1994. He was given a state job that had no title and no description. Lucky for Lipski and others like him that these temp jobs don’t have to be advertised to the public.

Getting that information wasn’t easy — NMDOT tried to make a reporter go to Santa Fe to “sign in” to see Lipski in Bernalillo. Asked about what he did, Lipski would only say he was very “excited” about doing a job on the public payroll that he couldn’t talk about publicly. 

You see, when the House Revenue and Taxation Committee votes today on passing a 1% tax increase on Main Street small business owners throughout the state (see this post), they will be removing $44 million from the economy that could be used to save or create real jobs in order to continue do nothing patronage jobs as noted above:

Consideration of a bill that would impose a 1 percent surtax on the taxable income of high-earning New Mexicans was delayed Friday by a House committee.

However, Rep. Edward Sandoval, D-Albuquerque, the chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, said House Bill 9 will be debated by the committee on Monday.

If enacted, the measure would generate an estimated $44 million in the coming year.  

When you consider that we’re still losing jobs, now is not the time to force higher taxes on small businesses throughout the state that are trying their hardest to help rebuild the economy:

New Mexico’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in December 2009, a sharp increase from 7.8 percent in November and 4.7 percent a year ago. The national unemployment rate stayed at 10.0 percent.

The rate of over-the-year job growth, comparing December 2009 with December 2008, was negative 3.1 percent, representing a loss of 25,900 jobs. New Mexico’s ranking among the states was twenty-eighth highest at a time when all 50 states reported declining year-over-year employment.

December was not a good month for employment in New Mexico, with the seasonally adjusted series showing a decline of 4,800 jobs. This may be an indication of reduced seasonal hiring, compared to what is normal. However, we still believe that we are several months into a slow recovery. There are typically a number of setbacks in any recovery, as we take two steps forward and one step back. December appears to one of those steps back.

A tax increase on top of all of the other economic pressures would be yet another step back. There are an awful lot of qualified New Mexicans who are out of work because of the downturn in the economy, and they’re not going to take kindly to being kept out of work because our elected officials refuse to supress job creation so that they can keep dole out political favors at taxpayer expense.