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New Mexico lawmakers average $16K in compensation

SANTA FE . — New Mexico legislators averaged a little more than $16,000 in compensation last year although they received no annual salary.
House and Senate members collect a daily expense payment, called a per diem, when the Legislature is in session and while attending committee meetings or out-of-state legislative conferences during the rest of the year.
Four state senators were the highest compensated members of the Legislature last year, according to information from the Department of Finance and Administration obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Democratic Sen. John Pinto of Gallup collected $27,463. Democratic Sen. Carlos Cisneros of Questa received $26,905, and Republican Sen. Lee Cotter of Las Cruces got $26,800. Senate President Mary Kay Papen, a Las Cruces Democrat, received $26,289.
They were among 18 lawmakers who collected more than $20,000 during 2013.
Cisneros said he’s able to serve on more legislative committees when the Legislature isn’t in session since he retired in 2009 from Molycorp, a subsidiary of Chevron that mines molybdenum near Questa.
“I can dedicate more of my time to legislative interim activity. So it’s beneficial from both ends. I learn more, get an opportunity to visit with folks across the state and keep abreast with what’s going on with pretty much all of the issues,” said Cisneros, who has served in the Legislature since 1985.
He’s chairman of the interim Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee and serves on a dozen other committees that typically meet in late spring, summer and the fall to consider issues expected to surface during the next legislative session.
New Mexico is the only state that doesn’t provide a yearly salary to its legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But because of the daily expense payments, New Mexico isn’t at the bottom of the compensation list nationally.
Lawmakers in New Hampshire receive a yearly salary of $100, but no per diem when they meet. Connecticut legislators were paid a salary of $28,000 in 2013, but no per diem, according to the NCSL. Legislator salaries in other states ranged up to about $90,500 a year in California. Many states, including California, offer a salary as well as covering expenses for lawmakers.
In New Mexico, the daily expense payments were $154 a day during last year’s legislative session — $9,240 for the 60-day session — and rose to $176 from June through September and then went to $159 from October through the end of the year, according to the Legislative Council Service.
Under a constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 1996, the payments are tied to a federal rate for what’s tax deductible for room and board in Santa Fe while on business. The rate goes up or down as the government adjusts it for seasonal differences and inflation. Before the constitutional change, the expense reimbursements for lawmakers were $75 a day.
Compensation for legislators cost taxpayers $1.8 million in 2013.
Payments averaged $16,484 for the 112 lawmakers who served in the 60-day legislative session last year. That excludes reimbursements for one House member appointed in November to fill a vacancy and payments to a handful of lawmakers defeated in the 2012 elections. Lawmakers who aren’t re-elected to a new term can continue to serve on committees until their successors take the oath of office, and a few committees meet in early January before the Legislature convenes. New members are sworn in to office on the session’s opening day.
Here is a list of the compensation received by New Mexico legislators in 2013, according to records of the Department of Finance and Administration. Lawmakers receive daily expense payments, called per diem, when the Legislature is in session and for attending committee meetings during the rest of the year. Lawmakers aren’t paid an annual salary.
Name Per Diem
Sen. John Pinto, D-Gallup 27,463
Sen. Carlos Cisneros, D-Questa 26,905
Sen. Lee Cotter, R-Las Cruces 26,800
Senate President Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces 26,289
Rep. Eliseo Alcon, D-Milan 25,277
Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Espanola 24,516
Rep. Edward Sandoval, D-Albuquerque 24,138
Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque 23,453
Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Espanola 23,152
Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming 22,580
Rep. Nathan Cote, D-Organ 21,737
Rep. Larry Larranaga, R-Albuquerque 21,661
Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City 21,526
Sen. Ron Griggs, R-Alamogordo 21,250
Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants 20,959
Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales 20,854
Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint 20,715
Rep. Ernest Chavez, D-Albuquerque 20,372
Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, D-Taos 19,981
Rep. Rodolpho Martinez, D-Bayard 19,912
Sen. Carroll Leavell, R-Jal 19,847
Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque 19,593
Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo 19,553
Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas 19,433
Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque 19,429
Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis 19,233
Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque 19,035
Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho 18,734
Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup 18,634
Rep. Jimmie Hall, R-Albuquerque 18,480
Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe 18,468
Sen. Steven Neville, R-Aztec 18,407
Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland 18,224
Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Albuquerque 18,188
Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe 18,172
Sen. William Soules, D-Las Cruces 18,167
Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs 18,072
Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell 17,991
Rep. Don Tripp, R-Socorro 17,965
House Majority Leader Rick Miera, D-Albuquerque 17,898
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque 17,730
Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo 17,639
Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell 17,575
Rep. James White, R-Albuquerque 17,563
Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview 17,487
Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Albuquerque 17,392
House Minority Leader Don Bratton, R-Hobbs 17,162
Rep. Phillip Archuleta, D-Las Cruces 17,072
Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan 17,010
Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque 16,991
Sen. Bill O’Neill, D-Albuquerque 16,991
Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces 16,790
Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque 16,776
House Speaker Ken Martinez, D-Grants 16,656
Rep. David Gallegos, R-Eunice 16,644
Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo 16,450
Rep. Kelly Farjado, R-Belen 16,437
Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque 16,304
Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup 16,252
Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque 16,188
Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales 15,746
Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe 15,617
Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington 15,609
Sen. William Payne, R-Albuquerque 15,555
Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Albuquerque 15,487
Rep. Nick Salazar, D-Ohkay Owingeh 15,421
Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque 15,344
Rep. Tomas Salazar, D-Las Vegas 14,858
Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington 14,751
Rep. Elizabeth Thomson, R-Albuquerque 14,612
Rep. Henry Kiki Saavedra, D-Albuquerque 14,453
Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque 14,350
Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe 14,316
Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho 14,277
Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque 14,144
Rep. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell 13,937
Sen. William Burt, R-Alamogordo 13,772
Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales 13,675
Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque 13,646
Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque 13,568
Sen. Lisa Torraco, R-Albuquerque 13,501
Rep. James Smith, R-Sandia Park 13,413
Rep. Paul Bandy, R-Aztec 13,351
Rep. James Strickler, R-Farmington 13,267
Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces 13,250
Rep. William Rehm, R-Albuquerque 13,243
Rep. Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque 13,096
Rep. George Dodge, D-Santa Rosa 12,983
Rep. William Gray, R-Artesia 12,656
Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos 12,602
Rep. Doreen Gallegos, D-Las Cruces 12,563
Rep. Monica Youngblood, R-Albuquerque 12,431
Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas 12,370
Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho 12,210
Sen. Phil Griego, D-San Jose 12,130
Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe 12,074
Rep. Paul Pacheco, R-Albuquerque 12,070
Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces 11,937
Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell 11,788
Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe 11,770
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen 11,313
Rep. Dona Irwin, D-Deming 11,257
Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces 11,250
Rep. Emily Kane, D-Albuquerque 11,245
Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque 11,228
Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso 11,007
Rep. Stephen Easley, D-Santa Fe 10,626
Sen. John Ryan, R-Albuquerque 10,614
Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City 10,614
Rep. Terry McMillan, R-Las Cruces 9,910
Rep. Cathrynn Brown, R-Carlsbad 9,717
Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque 9,416
Rep. Vickie Perea, R-Belen 1,590
AP-WF-02-28-14 0135GMT