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Friday, February 7, 2003

Dems Block House Debate on Gov.'s Tax Cut Plan

By Barry Massey
The Associated Press
    SANTA FE Republicans, with the blessing of Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, tried to push the governor's income tax reduction proposal to the top of the House agenda Thursday, but Democrats blocked the move on a party-line 42-25 vote.
    House GOP Leader Ted Hobbs tried a procedural maneuver to have the House immediately debate a tax cut bill that passed the Senate earlier this week.
    The governor has proposed reducing the top income tax rate from 8.2 percent to 5 percent over four years and implementing a 50 percent deduction for capital gains.
    House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, said in an interview that "we definitely want to work with the governor on his tax relief bill." However, he said Democrats were developing a "safety net" provision, which could delay or stop portions of the tax cut in the future if the state's financial situation deteriorated.
    Richardson has said he preferred a tax cut without such a provision but was willing to consider it.