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New pension, tax, other laws set to take effect

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Health insurance exchange also begins in the new fiscal year

SANTA FE – This part of summer is a time for patriotism. It’s also the time new state laws go into effect across the nation.

Fiscal years begin July 1 on most financial calendars, and a slew of state government spending regulations kick in each year on that date. So as you get ready for Fourth of July cookouts and family gatherings, consider this roundup of recently passed New Mexico legislation:

  • Pensions: Two measures take effect today, changing separate retirement programs for state and local government workers and public school employees and college faculty. Most workers will have to pay more into their retirement plan and yearly cost-of-living adjustments for pension benefits will be trimmed. There will be new retirement eligibility standards and benefits for public employees and educators hired starting in July.
  • Corporate tax cuts: A recently enacted law phases in tax cuts for corporations, including lowering the state’s corporate income tax rate from 7.6 percent to 5.9 percent over five years. Currently, New Mexico’s top rate is the highest among neighboring states. The measure also sweetens incentives for attracting television and film projects to the state. The new law took effect June 14, but some tax changes, including the corporate rate reduction, don’t apply until 2014.
  • Sex offender registration: A new law strengthens sex-offender registration requirements for those with out-of-state convictions who move to New Mexico. The regulation kicks in today.
  • Health insurance: New Mexico will establish a state-operated health insurance exchange, which will serve as a marketplace for uninsured New Mexicans to obtain health care coverage. The measure took effect in March.
  • Space tourism protections: A recently passed law limits the liability of spacecraft manufacturers and their suppliers. The measure took effect June 14. The governor and proponents said the law was critical to ensure that British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic follows through on plans to fly tourists into space from a nearly complete spaceport in southern New Mexico.

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