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Senate OKs bill delaying corporate tax cut on 21-20 vote

SANTA FE — The Senate narrowly approved a bill that delays a scheduled cut in the state’s corporate income tax rate, voting 21-20 in favor of the legislation.

Two Democratic senators, John Sapien of Corrales and Clemente Sanchez of Grants, joined Senate Republicans in voting against the measure, which would keep the state’s corporate income tax rate at 6.9 percent for two more years.

The bill, one of 10 solvency measures being debated in the Senate tonight, could face long odds in the Republican-controlled House, as Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration opposes it.

Sen. Steven Neville, R-Aztec, described the legislation as “penny-wise and pound foolish,” arguing the corporate income tax cut — approved as part of a 2013 tax package — was vital in convincing Facebook to build a massive new data center near Los Lunas.

But supporters of the measure said businesses should have to lend a helping hand in balancing a massive state budget shortfall.

“What it does is buys us some breathing room,” said Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque.

The legislation could generate as much as $13 million per year in savings, according to legislative analysts, though others argued the savings would be much smaller.