Public Policy News

image by Minda McGougle, Director of Public Policy

It’s Your Turn to “Speak Out”
Don’t miss this special evening!

Wednesday, November 19th you will have the opportunity to engage newly elected and returning legislators by attending Speak Out, NAWBO’s annual legislative dinner. This is the event where the policymakers “listen to you” as they prepare for the 2015 Legislative Session. 

Speak Out is made available in large part because of our generous sponsors.

This year we want to thank:
• Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico
• Bueno Foods
• Builders Trust of New Mexico
• Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors
• New Mexico Angels
• New Mexico Prosperity Project
• PNM
• RDO Strategic Consultants

Here is how Speak Out works. Everybody arrives at 5:30 pm and has a chance to visit and find a table. We have legislators and other policymakers at each table plus a NAWBO moderator who will facilitate the discussions and make sure everyone who wants too gets a chance to chime in. The people at the table who talk least are the policymakers. It is their opportunity to listen to you.

 

After you have had your entrée and rousing discussion we make a change. While you choose yummy offerings from our dessert bar we move the legislators to a different table so that you meet several more of them.

Sometimes it’s hard to get the conversation started. We are taking care of that too. The NAWBO Public Policy committee has been watching for relevant issues likely to be included in the upcoming legislative session and is bringing the top three with the NAWBO position to Speak Out as conversation starters. (We are making them available at the end of this article.) It is our experience that you and your table partners soon center the conversation in on the issues that are of most mutual concern.  We look forward to you “speaking up” at Speak Out!

Dinner Cost: $35 per person
Members CLICK HERE to register with option to pay online or pay at the door.

Non-members CLICK HERE to register and pay online with PayPal or credit card. No account needed.

NAWBO Northern New Mexico Public Policy 2014 Speak Out Topics

Topic #1: Economic Development
NAWBO supports a strong, efficient, cost-effective workers’ compensation system that works for the mutual benefit of employers and workers and that enhances New Mexico’s competitive advantage in maintaining a vibrant economy.

The workers’ compensation system is based on compromises, requiring that both employers and workers give up rights and legal defenses. 

We are concerned that recent decisions of the New Mexico higher courts are having an adverse effect on the state’s economy. The decisions are a signal to the global business community that New Mexico is not a good place to do business.  They can especially hurt construction and manufacturing, and cost jobs. Workers’ compensation payments to public employees are a direct cost to taxpayers.

Background: Major legislative changes were made in 1990, successfully correcting a dangerously faltering workers’ compensation system harmfully impacting both employees and business owners.  The concern is that recent decisions of the New Mexico higher courts and other adverse events are degrading this system and the beneficial effects of these statutory reforms.

NAWBO recommends:
• legislative changes to restore the intent of the 1990 reforms, including the following:
a. Reaffirm workers’ return to work as a principle and goal of the system, with incentives for both employers and workers toward that goal.
b. Re-establish time and dollar limits on all categories of workers’ compensation indemnity benefits.
c. Establish, through incentives and penalties in the workers’ compensation law, that New Mexico does not tolerate drug or alcohol use at work.

Topic #2: Taxation

NAWBO supports a more business friendly tax policy that encourages small business growth resulting in greater sales, increased state revenues and increased employment.

While we continue to believe that our tax system is overly burdensome on small and medium-sized business and is overdue for an overhaul, legislative corrections to gross receipts tax pyramiding must be immediately continued and effectively expanded.

Background: Since many small businesses are taxed as individuals, personal tax rates, property taxes and other business taxes often called fees have substantial impact on these businesses. Nevertheless, it is gross receipts tax (GRT) on business to business transactions, commonly referred to as “pyramiding”, that affects almost all small businesses. What was once a low rate broadly based tax has become a high rate targeted tax.

NAWBO recommends:
• the legislature continue to address the gross receipts tax rate and “pyramiding” issue. 
• assist small business through the elimination of GRT on business to business transactions such as legal services, accounting, multi-tiered subcontracting and other related services.
• appointing a task force comprised of business owners as well as other business leaders, representing all sizes of employers, together with tax policy experts to propose a tax code appropriate for our state’s revenue requirements. Its final report should include best practices from other states.

Topic #3: Procurement Transparency
NAWBO supports a transparent state procurement process that requires a prime contractor who partners with a local qualified subcontractor to utilize such subcontractor as stated in their proposal to the completion of the project.

Background: Recent rounds of bidding for services required by the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange have brought to light the problem that potential “named” qualified subcontractors ultimately were not retained to perform work once the contract was finalized.

NAWBO recommends:
• the legislature address the issue of procurement transparency and protections for subcontractors not otherwise covered by state law.
• the legislature require subcontractor transparency and protections for procurements that include the partial use of public funds provided by federal, state, local or other government entities.