New Mexicans dodged a bullet this legislative session with the failure of a 25 to 30-cent increase in gas prices.
The Clean Fuel Standard was one of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s major priorities going into the 30-day Legislative Session that ended Thursday.
The bill’s failure in the House reflects the priorities of everyday Americans.
A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found that only 9% of Americans were concerned about climate change (1% of Republicans, 17% of Democrats), which was higher than “racial inequality” (7%) and health care (6%), but below inflation (27%), immigration (12%), and COVID (10%) — none of which the New Mexico legislature cared to take up during session.
People care about having money in their pockets more than they care about climate change, and for good reason.
Despite all their talk about the evils of corporations, Democrats settled for what initially seemed like an easy win: tax the oil industry. If that seems like biting the hand that feeds you — oil and gas revenue accounts for more than half of state revenue — it is, but the problem of the Clean Fuel Standard wasn’t angering our oil overlords. It was the effect on the average New Mexican who would bear the burden of the tax increase when the industry passed the buck to consumers.
New Mexicans are already paying an average $3.50 a gallon for gas, 45% higher than a year ago and just two cents below the current national average despite being the third highest oil producer in the country.
House Minority Leader Jim Townsend (R-Artesia) drove the nail in the coffin of the gas tax proposal when he said, “Our state is already one of the poorest states in the nation. You’re proposing a bill that is going to increase fuel prices.”
Increasing fuel prices does nothing to create jobs, reduce crime, or put more money in the pockets of New Mexicans.
A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to all of the Republican legislators who voted against this bill, and to the ten Democrats who sided with already-struggling New Mexicans in voting to kill a tax hike.
Categories: Legislative Actions