SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – State lawmakers started tackling some of the pandemic relief bills this week and one of them would give tax breaks to restaurants and low-income families. Senator Jacob Candelaria (D- Albuquerque) got emotional while talking to KRQE News 13 about the bill because he said coming from a single-parent family that struggled, he understands the hardships many low-income families are dealing with during the pandemic. He thinks Senate Bill 1 will alleviate some of the financial strains low-income families and businesses are dealing with.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Sen. Candelaria. “I think after the contributions of so many New Mexicans have made to keep our state running and to keep many of us healthy and safe throughout the pandemic.”

Senate Bill 1 would create a $600 income tax credit for people earning less than $31,200 a year who are also claiming the working families tax credit. It also provides a short gross receipts tax break for businesses like restaurants, breweries, food trucks and wineries for four months in 2021. Businesses would be able to pocket that sales tax money while the state would reimburse local government for the loss of that tax revenue. The price-tag on that could top $40-million.

Overall, this bill received bipartisan support in a committee hearing. “I would like to know what we really have in the bank before we continue to just spend out,” said Sen. Gay Kernan (R- Hobbs). “This is a good bill. I’m going to support this bill and I’ll probably support other bills down the road but we for sure better know what we’re looking at overall as a state.”

One Republican cautioned that lawmakers should make sure our state’s revenues are solid before giving out tax breaks that could impact funding. Senate Bill 1 cleared its first committee unanimously. The Restaurant Association and small business advocates told the committee they also support the bill.