The governor sent a powerful message about her priorities this week
when she vetoed Senate Bill 9: Corporations matter more to state
government than locally owned businesses.
“She said it have raised taxes for those businesses (operating in
multiple states),” said Steven Mayes of , “but the only way
it would have raised them is if they weren’t paying their taxes in the
SB9, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, would have required large
retailers like Best Buy and Walmart, which operate in other states as
well as New Mexico, to file the same tax returns as local businesses.
It sought to close a loophole in the state’s tax code allowing those
companies (with stores over 30,000 square feet) to send profit earned
here to another state without a corporate income tax, like Delaware,
and declare the money there.
Wirth first introduced the bill eight years ago and has long argued it
helps local businesses by making their more powerful competitors pay
the same taxes they do.
Martinez had long said she would veto the bill if it cleared both
houses at the legislative session, but a coalition including MoveOn,
the CWA and other labor groups had rallied thousands of supporters to
contact the governor’s office and ask her to sign the bill rather than
The bill would have lowered the corporate tax rate in New Mexico from
7.6 to 7.5 percent, so not only did it level the playing field for
small businesses, it also cut everyone’s taxes.
Martinez defended her veto in a press release, calling SB9 “misguided
“Increasing taxes on grocery stores, clothing retailers and home
improvement stores, while choosing to cut taxes for a different sent
of corporations – such as large banks, casinos, payday loan companies,
or any other large corporation that pays corporate income tax – is not
only misguided and arbitrary tax policy, but it’s also not the way to
foster economic growth in New Mexico,” the statement says.
Wirth’s bill, as initially written, would have covered all
out-of-state corporations, including banks, but was watered down in
committee during the session to affect only multi-state retail stores.
“She’s operating under the Republican mantra of ‘no new taxes,'” said
Mayes. “She got backed into a corner with a bill that actually lowered
taxes but including all those businesses, 500 of them, by closing the
loophole. She sided with out-of-state companies – the one percent –
over New Mexico businesses.”