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