Panel tables economic recovery bill

Santa Fe New Mexican

Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, listens to public comment earlier in the legislative session on a bill.

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday (Feb. 16) to "temporarily table" a major economic recovery bill to work on amendments and deal with other issues.

"There is more than enough time to make sure that whatever version is endorsed by this [committee] at the very least addresses some of the serious issues raised by our staff," said Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque.

"I fully want this $200 million to go out, but we've also got to be the adults in the room and be the last line of defense to ensure that money is spent responsibly," Candelaria added. "I think this committee needs to take some time with this bill."

House Bill 11 and a companion bill in the state Senate are designed to provide businesses with economic relief and also stimulate job growth, part of an ongoing effort to help New Mexicans struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation would provide $200 million in grants for thousands of small and mid-size businesses to use for mortgage, rent or lease abatement with the goal of rehiring workers or new employees. The maximum allowable grant to a business would be $100,000.

The other part of the bill would allow the state to use incentives to draw big businesses, such as pharmaceutical companies, to New Mexico by providing partial sharing of gross receipts tax revenues during the construction phase of a project, but only with the approval of the county or municipality - or both - where the company would be located. Those companies would not be eligible for recovery grants under the first part of the bill.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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