SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Money is on the way to help New Mexican families struggling with high gas prices. Lawmakers passed a rebate bill Tuesday evening after a 12-hour special session. The rebate bill easily passed the House and Senate, with both chambers adjourning about an hour ago.
Democrats and Republicans agreed, saying the state has a lot of money right now, so it should go to helping working families. “You know, over the last few weeks because of this global crisis in oil prices, fuel prices, too many New Mexicans have had to make a choice between putting food on the table and filling up their gas tank with gas,” said Rep. Javier Martinez.
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House Bill 2 passed, with lawmakers voting to give $500 to individual taxpayers and $1,000 to married couples. It would come in the form of two electronic payments, one in the spring and one in the fall. Your income level doesn’t matter.
This is all to help families struggling as gas prices and inflation skyrocket. Everyone seems to be in agreement on payments. But there have been debates on the $20 million set aside that would go to people who don’t file taxes, such as low-income seniors. A large group of undocumented workers also showed up Tuesday. They said do file for taxes and the money would help pay bills and buy clothes for their kids.
“I just think the issue is not really whether you’re undocumented or not, that’s not my problem. It’s are you paying taxes into the state system because again, we’re talking about taking taxpayer dollars that we can now collect from our citizens and return those back to the citizens again,” said Rep. Ryan Lane.
“Anytime we can bring relief to our families, I’m a big supporter of that. I think that this particular rebate gas tax, whatever they want to call it, is useful. I think it will help. I think it’s probably not enough in the bigger picture because inflation is increasing at a rate that is devastating to those working families,” said Rep. Roger Montoya.
The special session was originally sparked by lawmakers’ anger at the governor. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham vetoed Senate Bill 48, the so-called Junior Bill after she said she wanted more transparency on the projects being funded.
It divides up more than $50 million across the state for different projects, such as $50,000 for educational programs at the Albuquerque zoo and $50,000 to help with meals for low-income or homebound people.
The rebate bill has been making its way through committees Tuesday morning. A debate is expected on the House floor any moment now. The bill will then head to the Senate. The rebate bill will cost the state $690 million. It will come from the added revenues from oil and gas because of higher prices.