N.M. Democrat wants compromise on state unemployment compensation fund
Trip Jennings reports that Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, drafted a compromise bill on the state’s unemployment compensation fund, raising taxes on businesses by a lesser amount than Gov. Susana Martinez line-item vetoed earlier this year:
“I’m just trying to find a middle ground,” Smith said Wednesday. “I don’t know how much traction it will get.”
The Governor’s Office didn’t sound enthusiastic about Smith’s bill.
“The Governor does not believe politicians should arbitrarily increase tax rates on New Mexico businesses,” Martinez’s spokesman Scott Darnell said in an email. “The Governor is hopeful that a bi-partisan compromise can be reached that keeps taxes low on businesses during this recovery to help put more New Mexicans back to work and then bases contribution rates on economic conditions, such as the amount being paid out in benefits, the balance of the fund, and the unemployment rate.”
Martinez favors taking $130 million out of the state’s savings account over two years, but that proposal has faced resistance from lawmakers. The fund is expected to stay in the black until early 2013. The fund had $129 million as of early July, down from $500 million just three years ago. The state pays out $745,000 per day in benefits, and was paying $1 million per day earlier in the year.