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Editorial: ‘Fair Deal’ proposals will help average folks

As the state continues to reel from the twin challenges of coronavirus pandemic shutdowns and crime, any proposal that would ease the regulatory burden on small businesses, put more money in the wallets of our senior citizens and bolster law enforcement should garner bipartisan interest.

And while the “Fair Deal” agenda is a Republican proposal in a Democrat-controlled Legislature, it deserves to be heard.

Just unveiled last week, the plan doesn’t yet include detailed legislative proposals. But it’s a good starting point for lawmakers for the next legislative session. It’s undisputed that our local businesses are suffering, with many on the brink of failing and many gone forever. The GOP Fair Deal agenda proposes cutting one old regulation for each new one that’s enacted, eliminating redundant regulations that stymie growth. Our local and recently arrived seniors say the “double taxation” of their Social Security benefits makes a fixed income even harder to live on and is one of the biggest drawbacks to coming to the state. (They paid tax on income they earned during their working careers and are now taxed on their benefits.) And crime remains a top issue among New Mexicans, and the Fair Deal proposes strong financial support for law enforcement.

The fledgling Republican proposal has already hit predictable opposition, likely because of its GOP sponsorship. House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, called it “merely a regurgitation of decade-old policies that will leave New Mexicans behind.” The speaker should say that to the state’s struggling mom-and-pops, the many seniors trying to make due on the meager benefit check they worked hard to earn and the countess crime victims.

Good ideas that help real people shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand because of a political label. Bills should be weighed on their merit and what they mean to New Mexicans, not on which party proposed them. Republicans’ Fair Deal deserves a fair shake in the 2021 legislative session.

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.