A group of nonprofit organizations in New Mexico has banded together to protest Gov. Susana Martinez and her economic policies.
The Center For Civic Policy is sponsoring a billboard campaign across the state and has launched a website, DontVetoNMJobs.com. The organization claims that New Mexico's unemployment numbers are on the rise and that the governor has not helped ease joblessness through legislation.
"We're disappointed that her policy is one thing, and her rhetoric is another," said Javier Benavidez, spokesman for the Center For Civic Policy. "We want people to know what's really happening at the roundhouse."
On the website, organizers cite Martinez's vetoes of 187 projects that would have created scores of jobs. A billboard lining Main Street in Las Cruces shows a smiling governor as she signs a document, with the word "veto" in large red lettering.
One small business owner told ABC-7 he thinks the governor gave an advantage to big out-of-state retailers by vetoing Senate Bill 9, the "Corporate Fair Tax Act," during the 2012 legislative session. SB 9 would have lowered New Mexico's corporate income tax rate and closed a loophole for certain retailers.
"It does hurt small businesses in general that the large corporations, larger out-of-state corporations, don't have to pay as much in taxes as the small businesses do," said Jim Graham.
Greg Blair with Gov. Martinez's office sent a reply via e-mail to our New Mexico Mobile Newsroom. Here is that statement in full:
"...Senate Bill 9...has been erroneously labeled as a tax parity bill. ...It is in fact a tax increase and would have resulted in higher taxes on retailers that many New Mexico families rely on for everyday items like groceries, clothes, and school supplies.
"Raising taxes on grocery stores and clothing stores doesn't create jobs or help New Mexico families. Instead, it raises prices on clothing, food, and medicine, while sending jobs out of state - and Governor Martinez won't stand for that. Furthermore, these are the same people whose party's legislative leaders were responsible for killing the Governor's initiative to put $1.5 million into Main Street capital projects for rural communities throughout the state. New Mexico has been ranked as high as 4th in terms of the potential for job growth, and the Governor will continue breaking down the barriers to job creation in our state to ensure that businesses are able to hire and grow."
Regarding the veto of Senate Bill 9:
"The money they're talking about in this case was a $75K earmark thrown into the back of the budget... The Main Street program will receive a full budget for FY13, and more importantly, in the GOVERNOR'S CAPITAL OUTLAY REQUEST, she requested a whopping $1.5 million for "Main Street" capital projects THAT THE LEGISLATURE REJECTED (in favor of street signs, a Mariachi center, weight rooms, etc....projects that are not job creators). So, rather than a small programmatic earmark, she wanted 20 times as much money for capital investment in Main Street projects...which is where the jobs are at! Do they have billboards criticizing Democratic leaders in the Legislature for their decision to REJECT 20 times as much money for capital projects in rural communities throughout the state?
"In addition, the Governor led the charge on raising JTIP (job training funding which is credited with creating over 50,000 NM jobs since its inception) from $1.2 million last year to nearly $8 million in this year's budget."