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Editorial: Governor off to a good start with her veto pen

After warming up the veto pen Tuesday to stop an unnecessary water fee increase, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham should continue to exercise her executive authority to stop legislation that would impair the state’s economic recovery.

The governor issued her first veto of the year Tuesday, rejecting House Bill 92, which proposed a 67% increase for a fee charged to public water systems. The increased fees would have generated an estimated $1.4 million a year in new revenue, but the governor rightly noted now is not the time to increase water fees. “This bill creates a tax on water that is too onerous on New Mexicans as we strive to recover from the pandemic,” the governor said, adding money for testing drinking water can be found elsewhere.

In that vein, her veto pen is all that’s left to stop hypocritical legislation that would impose onerous mandatory sick leave requirements on businesses of all sizes while exempting state government agencies (HB 20); a bill that exposes every municipality to additional costly lawsuits that can already be filed for wrongdoing by public officials (HB 4); and one that unfairly sticks only taxpayers with additional contributions to public pensions (SB 42).

The governor is off to a good start vetoing HB 92. She has a terrific opportunity to show the state is on a clear economic recovery path by vetoing others that are anti-business and/or anti-consumer as our state works to regain its financial health in the wake of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

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.