SANTA FE — Michelle Lujan Grisham and Mark Ronchetti didn’t agree on much in a combative television debate last week.
But both gubernatorial candidates said they would oppose bringing back the gross receipts tax on unprepared food. It was repealed by a 2004 law.
In recent years, some lawmakers have floated the idea of reimposing the tax as part of broader plans to overhaul the tax code. Removing the tax break on food could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that could then be applied to lowering the overall tax rate overall, proponents contend.
But the idea hasn’t gained much traction at the Roundhouse.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat up for reelection, said “absolutely not” when asked about supporting reimposition of the food tax.
“It’s one of the most regressive taxes in the history of the state of New Mexico,” she said in the debate sponsored by KOAT-TV, KKOB Radio and the Albuquerque Journal.
Ronchetti, the Republican challenger, said he “absolutely” wouldn’t support it either.
“We don’t need any more tax increases,” he said.
Lujan Grisham’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, also opposed bringing back the food tax, though late in her tenure she left open the possibility that she’d consider it if the idea were part of a package that “lowers the gross receipts tax for all the consumers.”