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Senate Committee OKs Reduced Tax Hike on Businesses

Moving to break a logjam of legislation related to the solvency of New Mexico’s unemployment fund, the Senate Finance Committee voted 9-2 in favor of a bill that would increase the taxes paid into the fund by businesses.

The bill, Senate Bill 29, is expected to be voted on by the full Senate sometime Friday but could be seriously changed or amended before a final vote is taken.

The issue of shoring up the jobless fund has become a contentious one, with at least five bills introduced on the subject during the special session that began Sept. 6.

Gov. Susana Martinez has proposed using state revenue — either through cash reserves or the state’s main operating account — to keep the fund solvent, though top-ranking Democrats have expressed little support for such an approach.

The bill approved today would increase the amount businesses pay into the unemployment fund by an estimated $15 million next year. That’s a smaller increase than the one included in a bill Martinez partially vetoed earlier this year.

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