WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today applauded news that President Obama had signed into law an economic recovery package that will send more than $1.6 billion to New Mexico.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will send $1.1 billion to the state through formula grants -- funds that will flow on a formula basis from federal agencies to state agencies. Because of an amendment Bingaman attached to the bill during its consideration at the Senate Finance Committee, New Mexico will get an additional $638 million in funding through Medicaid that can be used to expand and improve health care, as well as for other needs the state has identified. Finally, New Mexico will have an opportunity to apply directly to the federal government for additional grants, including funding for border law enforcement agencies.
"The goal of this law is to reduce the length and severity of the recession that is hurting New Mexico families. All told, our state will see more than $1.6 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding, combined with the tax cuts for working families contained in the new law, will create more than 22,000 jobs in New Mexico and help get our economy back on track," Bingaman said.
“Over $1.6 billion from the economic recovery package President Obama has signed into law will be invested in long-term projects that will make a difference for the people of New Mexico,” said Udall. “By cutting taxes and injecting funding towards school modernization, clean energy jobs, public lands and small business we can help reinvigorate America’s economy and create jobs here at home.”
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Bingaman was able to ensure inclusion in the bill of a 30 percent tax credit for companies - like Schott, Advent Solar, Emcore and Nanopore - that invest in facilities to manufacture renewable energy technologies, like solar panels. This will be the first U.S. tax credit specifically intended to attract manufacturers of solar, wind, and other renewable energy equipment to U.S. soil.
Bingaman also was able to incorporate into the stimulus package a bill that he drafted to stimulate demand for municipal bonds - and thus enable communities to obtain the financing they need to make infrastructure improvements - by allowing banks to hold up to 2 percent of their assets in municipal bonds, on top of an unlimited amount of "small issuer" debt (for which Bingaman expanded the definition to include municipalities that issue $30 million or less in debt each year, up from the prior $10 million limit). This provision will enable counties, cities, school districts, and other municipal issuers across New Mexico to more affordably finance critical infrastructure projects - ranging from school construction to road repairs.
Udall won unanimous support in the Senate for an amendment he wrote to expand tax incentives to employers who hire veterans. The provision expanded tax incentives for veterans discharged only from 2008, 2009, and 2010, to veterans discharged from the Armed Services from September 2001 through December 2010, including veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bureau of Labor Statistic reports that of those veterans who served in our military since September 2001, 6.1 percent were unemployed and the economy has worsened. At the same time, the jobless rate for veterans of all eras combined was 3.8 percent in 2007. During a House-Senate conference committee, the Udall provision was altered and the final provision allowed employers to receive the credit if the veteran being hired was discharged from the Armed Services within the past five years.
The bill also lowers the income threshold to qualify for the child tax credit from $8500 to $3000, allowing an additional 130,000 New Mexico children will benefit.
N.M. Senators applaud enactment of American Recovery and Reinvestment act
Published: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
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