Lawmakers confident in support for tax break bill

Alisa Boswell

State tax breaks for corporate electricity, which could affect companies such as Tres Amigas, could definitely be in New Mexico’s future, according to local state representatives.

Rep. George Dodge, D-Santa Rose, said House Bill 116, which allows deductions in gross receipt taxes on corporate electricity, was recently passed the Business and Industry Committee and the Tax and Revenue Committee.

The bill is on its way to the House of Representatives and should be voted on by the House no later than Thursday, according to Dodge.

“I feel very confident that we have all the support necessary to pass the bill from the House to the Senate,” Dodge said. “It’s such a huge opportunity for the state of New Mexico that we (representatives) don’t anticipate any problems in the rest of the process.”

Tres Amigas is planning to build a power grid near Clovis that will connect North America’s two major power grids and will create up to 400 jobs once it is operational.

David Stidham, vice president for Tres Amigas, said previously that a tax break could definitely influence his company’s decision whether to build its headquarters in New Mexico or Texas, but there are also other factors to consider, such as available housing and education.

“As with any other project with any other business, the tax implications are a huge factor in the construction and operation of our business,” Stidham said. “It would certainly be favorable for placing it in New Mexico but it’s just one factor.”

Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Texico, said the bill being passed with no opposition in both committees “bodes well” for the bill passing in the House.

“It comes to the house floor with a lot of momentum,” Roch said. “I think people realize we’re competing with places like Amarillo and Lubbock. I’m pretty confident the House is going to be willing to support this bill then hopefully, we will make a good argument with the Senate.”

Dodge and Roch said the bill has support from many state representatives and senators, because it will help bring a lot of industry to New Mexico, including Tres Amigas.

“I think the fact it’s a bipartisan approach is very helpful,” Roch said. “Both the Republicans and the Democrats are working together to bring this together to create jobs in New Mexico and I think that is a very significant point.”

Roch said Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, and House Speaker Ben Lujan are also in support of the bill.

Dodge, Roch and Crook all serve on the Taxation and Revenue Committee.

“I think it’s really important for everyone to know the support has been almost 100 percent unanimous with passing this bill,” Dodge said.