Prospects dim for tax hikes to plug N.M. budget hole

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Prospects for tax hikes during New Mexico’s special legislative session dimmed even further as a House panel rejected several tax bills.

The House rules committee decided Monday that tax increases could not be considered because Gov. Bill Richardson did not put them on the agenda for the special session.

A Senate committee had ruled the same way a day earlier.

Some lawmakers insist that tax increases should be part of the plan to plug a $650 million hole in this year’s state budget. Otherwise, they say, cuts to public schools and social services will be too deep.

The governor says a discussion of taxes can wait until the regular session in January. He said Monday he’ll appoint a task force to come up with a comprehensive revenue package in the next few months.