Tax cuts, crime package sent to governor - Albuquerque Journal

Tax cuts, crime package sent to governor

Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, right, D-Gallup, talks with Rep. Anthony Allison, D-Fruitland, and Rep. Wonda Johnson, D-Church Rock, on the House floor at the Roundhouse on Wednesday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — Working past sunrise, the state House granted final legislative approval Thursday to a package of tax breaks and a broad plan to strengthen law enforcement.

The House votes send the two measures on their way to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham with just hours to spare before the noon deadline for adjournment.

The proposals underwent substantial changes Wednesday and Thursday as lawmakers negotiated with each other and resolved final disagreements.

The House votes took place in a marathon floor session that started about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and was still going at 7 a.m. Thursday, with just a brief break around midnight.

The tax cut legislation, House Bill 163, would reduce the state’s gross receipts tax rate, expand tax breaks on Social Security benefits and enact new tax credits for children.

It includes a $250 tax rebate for adults who make less than $75,000 annually. The rebate would be $500 for married couples filing jointly with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 per year.

The bill is expected to cost the state about $546 million. It won House approval about 3:40 a.m.

The crime proposal, House Bill 68, would enhance some criminal penalties and offer retention bonuses to experienced police officers at certain stages of their career. It would also require the judiciary to share ankle monitor data for pretrial defendants with law enforcement if needed for an investigations, among other provisions.

Rep. Meredith Dixon, D-Albuquerque, said the crime proposal rolled together a variety of separate measures to “help ensure swift and certain justice” and reflected bipartisan work.

“There are parts of this that have taken years and many sessions to get here,” she said during debate about 6:40 a.m.

The crime bill passed about 6:50 a.m. after about three hours of questioning and debate, driven largely by Republican members who said the proposal deserved thorough vetting.

They have an incentive to eat up time to give Democrats in the majority less time to pass bills before the noon deadline.

It’s the second all-night floor session of the House in the last week.

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