Commentary: Today, Rep. Rod Montoya (R-Farmington) announced he will introduce legislation for the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session establishing a New Mexico Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). The constitutional amendment, if enacted, will restrict annual spending by state lawmakers and require any future tax increase to be approved by a three-fifths majority in both chambers. Additionally, the amendment would provide taxpayers with annual rebates after spending limits are met. If approved, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the ballot for voter ratification in the 2020 general election.
Since Governor Lujan Grisham was elected, she has supported increasing state spending by $3.7 billion and signed into law one of the largest tax increases in the state’s history. This spending explosion included a 12 percent increase in 2020 for on-going government programs and another 8.4 percent proposed increase for 2021. In addition, the Governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature have approved and are considering another $2 billion in new spending for one-time projects. “These increases are not only unsustainable, they are irresponsible,” said House Minority Whip Rod Montoya, "In a recent interview, Governor Lujan Grisham answered the question as to when is it the right time to rein in spending and her answer was ‘we don't stop' spending. Apparently, there is never a right time to be responsible with taxpayer dollars. The idea that Santa Fe can spend your money better than you can is outrageous!" A Taxpayer Bill of Rights would not only provide New Mexico with more budget stability, it requires a significant portion of future budget surpluses to be returned back to New Mexicans. For example, if the state had a TABOR prior to the Governor taking office, every man, woman, and child in the state would receive a rebate of $525 for 2019 and 2020. Rather than having the Santa Fe government bureaucracy spend budget surpluses, a TABOR would have given a family of four more than $2,000 over two years to spend as they see fit. “New Mexico’s taxpayers deserve fiscal responsibility and protection from excessive government spending. With a TABOR amendment we can achieve both goals,” said Montoya, “Bottom line, the Governor and the Democratic-controlled Legislature has shown an inability to manage properly taxpayers’ dollars. $2,000 may not seem like a lot of money to the Governor, but it would make a significant difference for a struggling family. Our citizens demand better.” The Legislative Session begins Tuesday, January 21, 2020.