Gov. Susana Martinez said publicly for the first time Thursday that she will support right-to-work legislation.
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Speaking at the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Governor Martinez said she has several legislative priorities that include beefing up the state’s Local Economic Development Act, making it easier for entrepreneurs to launch businesses, continuing her push for education reform and more.
Governor Martinez cautioned, however, that oil revenues which have boosted the state’s budget for several years will be lower in 2015.
“Yes oil and gas prices have fallen, and it put a squeeze on revenues, but over the last four years we’ve held the line on spending,” she said.
Oil prices have dropped. However, natural gas prices “per therm,” which have been at record lows for several years, have seen significant gains recently.
Though Governor Martinez touted several successes, there’s more work that needs to be done this legislative session, she said, and she listed several priorities. There were seven that stood out:
The law would eliminate rules that make union dues compulsory to get hired in a specific job. This issue will be the most contentious during the session, with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats saying it’s a bad idea.
2. $50 million Closing Fund
Saying New Mexico needs to “turn up the volume,” she said the state needs to institute a $50 million closing fund to bring more companies here.
3. Increase Job Training Funds
The state’s Job Training Incentive Program has been successful, she said, and she wants to see more training money available.
4. Expand Existing Business Tax Credits
Though many are in place, Governor Martinez said she wants to see the state increase its commitment to Main Street Program tax credits.
5. Reduce PIT for Entrepreneurs
Governor Martinez proposed reducing the personal income tax rate for entrepreneurs who are starting up new companies.
6. Change Investment Regs
Governor Martinez said she wants to find ways to bring out more of the technlogies that have been developed at the state’s federal labs. She’s also looking at ways to reform the Higher Education Endowment Fund to provide investments.
7. Education Reform
From instituting higher starting salaries for teachers to addressing truancy, Governor Martinez rattled off a full slate of education reform packages. She did, however, reiterate that she wants to hold children back in grades if they can’t read at a certain grade level.
By: Dan Mayfield (Albuquerque Business First)
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