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By Etta Pettijohn

Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-38) and two other state representatives have prefiled legislation for the 2021 session to exempt social security income from taxation.

Representatives Cathrynn Brown and Gail Armstrong are co-sponsors. Dow and Armstrong sponsored HB 130 in 2020, but it died in committee.

New Mexico is one of only 13 states that tax Social Security income, making it a form of double taxation, since New Mexicans pay income taxes on the money they put into Social Security while working. No other government benefits (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, TANF, food stamps) are taxed.

The Legislative Finance Committee presented its $7.3 billion budget last Tuesday, which would increase spending by 4 percent, or nearly $300 million.

The governor lists as priorities spending nearly half a billion toward New Mexico's pandemic response, and almost $4 billion toward education.

Other priorities include:
- $893.1 million in total fund money for behavioral health support across all state agencies.
- $193 million for the early childhood education and care investments.
- $5.1 million for youth, adolescent, and young adult suicide prevention.
- $151.2 million to maintain K-5 Plus, Extended Learning Time (ELTP) & Career Technical Education and Community School Programs.
- $26 million for tuition-free education at one of New Mexico's public colleges, including $4 million for a pilot program for students that lost the lottery scholarship.
- $25 million to restore and revitalize the tourism economy.
- $10 million from the General Fund for broadband expansion across New Mexico.
- $4.5 million for investments in cybersecurity for state agencies and public education institutions.
- $2 million for innovative grid modernization projects.
- $6 million for the Secretary of State to fund local elections.

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