Your 2010 legislators: map, info, contact, resources
Updated: Monday, 01 Mar 2010, 12:07 AM MST
Published : Sunday, 28 Feb 2010, 10:35 PM MST
SANTA FE (KRQE) - If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
It’s a phrase state lawmakers may be saying to themselves as they head back to Santa Fe Monday for a special session.
They’ll try to tackle the estimated $600 million budget deficit and nail down a state budget.
The House and Senate failed to compromise on the budget during the regular 30 day session that ended February 18.
Legislative leaders negotiated for days before the special session, hoping to hammer out some of the details.
“Time will tell, when push gets to shove and we vote on it that will determine whether or not we have a plan,” Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela (D - Santa Fe) told News 13 Sunday.
House republicans believe the way out of the budget hole is to cut spending.
“Our folks believe very strongly that we need to look at the base budget,” Rep. Keith Gardner (R – Roswell) said. “Really go back to the basics in the state government.”
House and Senate leaders will present a framework for an agreement to the rest of the members Monday.
Sources told News 13 the proposal calls for a roughly 2 percent cut to state agencies; a 1.2 percent cut to primary and secondary education; and higher education could see a 3.5 percent cut.
As for tax increases, we’ve learned that could include a quarter cent increase on gross receipts taxes, which works out to a penny for every four dollars.
Smokers may also have to pay an extra $0.50 on a pack of cigarettes.
There could also be a change to the food tax exemption, although it is unclear what that will be.
New 13 does know at this point, lawmakers don’t plan to just tax junk food and soda.
Any tax increases and cuts are not set in stone, nothing is at this time, it all depends on the House and Senate coming to an agreement.
“If they don't approve, we may have to come back but that's why we need to have the consent of the caucus,” Rep. Varela said.
Rep. Gardner believes tough times are ahead.
“I think it'll be very interesting and it's going to be tough days,” Rep. Gardner explained. “[But] that's what we were elected to do, we were elected to come up here and make tough decisions.”
There is also talk of a low income tax rebate to help those struggling to make ends meet in light of those possible cuts and tax increases.
The special session starts Monday around noon.