SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – After waiting out the holiday weekend to reconvene the special session, the Democrats did not try to override.
In fact, they adjourned for good after about a half-hour, but not before using the floor to take potshots at the governor.
It was not a surprise when the governor struck down tax hikes lawmakers sent her last week. They called everyone back in session Tuesday to criticize her.
The special session in Santa Fe came to a close Tuesday, just shy of one week after it began.
“It’s been a long trip getting here. Quite frankly, the trip started over a year and a half ago,” said Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming.
Thursday night, lawmakers sent Gov. Martinez a new revenue and budget package, which included funding for higher education. It also moved capital outlay money to the general fund — a compromise for Democrats.
On Friday, the governor approved those portions of the package, but she shot down Democrat-proposed tax increases to replenish reserves, including an internet sales tax and a hike in the gas tax.
Tuesday, Democrats let their frustrations be known, as they fear the state’s bond rating will now drop.
“We often hear the rhetoric, that ‘I’m not going to balance the budgets on the backs of hard-working New Mexicans.’ Hard-working New Mexicans want a healthcare system, they want an education system, they want a law enforcement system, they want services out there and they’re willing to step to the plate,” said Sen. John Arthur Smith.
Democrat after Democrat in the Senate gave their final thoughts.
“And so while Mr. President I think we did great bipartisan work this special session to get the train back on the tracks, I hope that none of us here think that we’re safe,” said Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque.
He was followed by a lone Republican — Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle left his fellow lawmakers with this:
“The thing about it, we must remember here that we are all part of government and must work together. And we never get everything the way we want this to be. And that’s a blessing because we are never always right here on either side of the aisle,” he said.
The governor says she is relying on better revenue from the oil and gas industry to rebuild reserves, but Sen. John Arthur Smith of the Senate Finance Committee says we won’t know for certain that’s a safe bet until August.
The governor wanted legislators to pass a comprehensive tax reform, but that did not happen during the special session. Instead, lawmakers approved funding a tax reform study.