Commentary

Gov. Richardson’s Real Record on Taxes

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has been calling himself the tax cutting Democrat. However, according to some his record on taxes is not excatly what he claims it is. Richardson’s Tax Reform Record, 2003 First Session, March 2003: New Tax Increases: $179 Million (counting $34 million from raid of the permanent fund Constitutional Amendment #2) highlights: Cigarette tax (@70cents) Increase $43 Million Premiums on Medicaid increase 32 Million 1 cent gasoline increase 8 Million redefine “residency” increase 4 Million audit/compliance, enf’mnt increase 21 million Amendment 2 (FYO4 portion) 34 million Raid Tobacco Perm. Fund 37 million NEW taxes for FY04 = $179 million After the first session. Tax relief in same session: Income Tax, 1st year $17 million Cap Gains, 1st year 4 million Reduce Unemployment tax 23 million Reduction Oil&Gas taxes 1.2 million Miscellaneous Reductions 3.9 million Tax reductions totalled = $49.1 million Net INCREASE in taxes for FY04 = $130 million After the first session However, tax relief from income tax reduction may in fact reach $360 million for 2008 if it stays in place until then. Remember however, that no Legislature can bind another Legislature, so it could repeal this at any time. The “Special Session” in November, highlights: Vehicle Registration fee increase $ 22.2 M Weight/distance fees increase $ 21.2 M Special fuel tax (diesel) increase $ 13.9 M Oversize/Overweight veh.permit increase $ 3.0 M Weight/Distance Permit cards increase $ 2.5 M New Tax Increases Totalled: $ 62.8 million No tax cuts during the Special Session In first two sessions, achieved tax increases of $241.8 Million and minimal tax relief of under $49.1 million. The total tax however for a full new fiscal year will actually be $285 million (when the full $78 million ConAm 2 Raid amounts are incorporated in the first full fiscal year after its adoption).

Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.