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Editorial: NM leaders must put pedal to metal on tax fixes

State lawmakers no longer have an excuse to not move forward with desperately needed reform of New Mexico’s complex and outdated tax system.

The global accounting firm Ernst & Young, in partnership with Georgia State University, has submitted a 66-page report to lawmakers confirming that New Mexico’s current tax system is broken. Ernst & Young has also completed the much-anticipated computer model intended to help the Legislature evaluate the financial impact of proposed changes to the tax code.

Best of all, state coffers are full, thanks to the rebound of oil and gas revenues, which means lawmakers will now have a little more wiggle room in the budget as they tackle tax reform, which should include lowering and broadening gross receipts taxes, eliminating pyramiding, establishing equity between brick-and-mortar and internet sales, and ending local governments’ double-, triple-, even septuple-dipping on hold-harmless taxes instituted after the state repealed the tax on food and medicine.

Now all we need is a governor who is willing to make this a priority and a Legislature willing to follow through on this important issue.

Fortunately, Democrats and Republicans attending the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee earlier this week expressed renewed hope about reaching agreement on how to overhaul the state’s complex system of gross receipts, compensating and personal income taxes. And they have a starting point in the reform previously proposed by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho.

New Mexico residents and business leaders have been waiting a long time for these tax fixes, which are needed to improve the state’s recovering economy, attract new businesses, boost existing businesses and job growth, and bolster bottom lines and paychecks.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.