House Republican introduces ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights’

State Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, announced a plan Wednesday to introduce legislation that would enact a constitutional amendment making it substantially more difficult to raise taxes in New Mexico.

The House minority whip said he plans to introduce the “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” out of concern the Democrat-controlled Legislature is spending far too much money after an influx from Permian Basin oil and gas revenue.

Montoya’s plan would create a constitutional amendment that would require a three-fifths majority in both the state House and Senate to raise taxes. It also would offer taxpayers annual rebates when there’s a budget surplus beyond state spending levels.

In 2019, state coffers were padded with a nearly $900 million surplus from oil and gas extraction revenue. If Montoya’s proposal had been in place, every New Mexico resident would have received a $525 rebate for 2019 and 2020, he said.

Montoya’s House GOP-backed proposal is unlikely to proceed, but if approved by the Legislature, the proposed amendment would go on the ballot for voters to consider in the 2020 general election.

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