Lawmakers say tax cut bill OK despite inaccurate info

Posted at: 05/16/2013 6:08 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Everything is going to be okay.

That's the word from state legislative finance leaders after the governor's finance chief admitted he mistakenly gave lawmakers inaccurate information about the big tax cut bill that passed in the final hours of the legislative session back in March.

The House of Representatives passed the bill literally in the last minute of the session.

It's a package of tax cuts for business - aimed at helping with the creation of new jobs.

But Finance Secretary Tom Clifford admitted this week that he goofed, and it could lead to a budget shortfall of about $70 million in 2017.

The legislature's top money-minders said Thursday there is plenty of time for them to fix the problem with reserves, if need be.

"The rhetoric and the people in opposition to an income tax concession by any means have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, as far as I'm concerned," said Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Democrat from Deming. "I'm not the least bit worried."

"We do not have to panic about it," said Rep. Lucky Varela, a Santa Fe Democrat who chairs the Legislative Finance Committee. "I think we'll be okay if we pay that out the way it's structured in the bill. The different issues in the bill are workable."

Gov. Susana Martinez signed the tax cuts into law.

They include a corporate income tax cut and an increase in the state subsidy for TV shows that are shot in New Mexico.

Some lawmakers still object to the last minute rush job that forced the compromise tax package through, without committee hearings or much floor debate.

Veteran lawmakers said the proposals have all been kicked around at the Capitol for years - familiar territory.