It’s been almost a week and he still hasn’t called!
The battle to close the tax loophole for out-of-state corporations has been raging for a long time. But in the 2012 legislative session, something quite extraordinary happened.
After all of the years of organizing at the grassroots — and obstruction and disappointment in the corridors and committee rooms of the Roundhouse — a scaled-down version of this overdue tax reform (technically called “combined reporting”) actually passed both houses of the legislature.
Sadly, the legislative victory of the “Corporate Fair Tax Act” (SB9) was short-lived for it subsequently fell victim to Governor Susana Martinez’s veto pen.
Thus, the battle is sure to be resumed at the next legislative session.
In anticipation of this upcoming next round, the Center for Civic Policy (CCP) and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) collaborated in sending out post-session mailers designed to educate those members of the public who reside in legislative districts represented by lawmakers who had opposed SB9. The mailers were a follow-up to pre-session mailers addressing the same issue.
One of those legislators was Senator Phil Griego, a long-time opponent of combined reporting by out-of-state corporations — and Chairman of the critical Corporations and Transportation Committee.
Now, according to a recent story in the Albuquerque Journal, Senator Griego has reservations about this educational program.
But if civic engagement is anything, it is about dialogue. And that’s what Clearly New Mexico’s Sarah Kennedy set out to do in this video. She called Senator Griego. Here’s what happened:
Sarah will be keeping us posted as this dialogue develops.
A postscript to this story:
It bears repeating. An essential component of the missions of the two organizations, CCP and SWOP, has been to educate and engage the public — and still further, to encourage this informed citizenry to engage in an accountability dialogue with their elected officials on those issues that impact their communities.
To learn more about the civic engagement by nonprofit organizations, here’s a useful commentary on Haussamen’s blog that you’ll surely want to read.
Also we recommend this excellent NMTelegram.com post on the Governor’s veto and the reaction of New Mexico’s small business community to it.
Sitting on Governor Susana Martinez’s desk awaiting her signature is Senate Bill 9 — the Combined Reporting Act. It’s a long-needed tax reform that will help level the playing field for New Mexico businesses confronted with competition from those out-of-state corporate Big Box stores that are currently allowed to skip out on paying income taxes on the profits they rake in selling goods to local consumers.
The 20-day post-session deadline for Martinez to act on the bill is fast approaching. Much to the dismay of the New Mexico small business community, the smart money has Martinez vetoing this common sense reform. Say it ain’t so, Susana!
As usual, Sarah Kennedy nails the problem in her latest video:
That’s not all. Even the Albuquerque Journal editorial board has come to its senses on SB9. Here’s what a recent editorial from the morning daily had to say:
Editorial: Corporate Tax Change Could Benefit the State
Wedneday, Feb 15, 2012
New Mexico is known for going it alone, often with negative results. For example, take the recently struck down cap and trade regulation imposed during the Richardson administration.
New Mexico is the only Western state with a corporate income tax that doesn’t require big businesses that are based in another state to file corporate taxes here using “combined reporting.” That means such corporations would have to combine earnings from all of its subsidiaries, regardless of location, and pay New Mexico corporate income tax based on a portion of its combined earnings. Businesses now have the option of filing state taxes on income related to in-state operations or on its combined corporate income.
Proponents of combined reporting say the current code allows corporations to shift income to states with lower tax rates to reduce liability.
For the past few years, legislation to change what proponents call a tax loophole has been introduced but has failed to pass.
This year’s version, SB 9, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would lower the top corporate tax rate from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent, to offset the requirement that more corporations pay taxes to the state. The bill was amended so that only “big box” retailers – stores of more than 30,000 square feet under one roof – would have to file with combined reporting.
Opponents have argued the change would discourage big businesses from locating in New Mexico. However, amendments adopted this year address that, for instance, by exempting manufacturers like Intel. In fact, it targets retailers like Walmart and Target that will locate here in any case because there is a customer base for their products.
If the change will lower corporate income taxes across the board and make the tax code more equitable, it merits serious – and nonpartisan – consideration.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.