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Los Alamos County Officials Day At The Roundhouse ... Senate Finance Committee Passes ‘Lab Tax Bill’

on February 2, 2019 - 7:35am
Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz, Councilor Chair Sara Scott, County Manager Harry Burgess and Councilor Vice Chair Pete Sheehey at the Roundhouse. Photo by Morrie Pongratz
 
Councilors Sara Scott and David Izraelevitz smiling at the 'Do Pass' recommendation from the Senate Finance Committee. Photo by Morrie Pongratz
 
A Day at The Roundhouse
By MORRIE PONGRATZ
Los Alamos
 
Jan. 31, four of us from Los Alamos traveled to Santa Fe to support Senate Bill 11 (SB11), the bill to not allow 501C(3) exemptions from New Mexico Gross Receipts Taxes for National Labs.
 
I was joined by County Council Chair Sara Scott, Council Vice Chair Pete Sheehey, former Chair David Izraelevitz and County Manager Harry Burgess.
 
SB11 is co-sponsored by Sen.Carlos R. Cisneros, Sen. Richard C. Martinez, Rep. Christine Chandler and Rep. Andrea Romero.
 
Los Alamos County would lose about 40 percent of its General Fund revenue if TRIAD (LANL management contractor) was granted an exemption.
 
The bill was scheduled to be heard at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Finance Committee. The committee members were tied up in actions on the floor of the Senate until 4 p.m. so we cooled our heels for a while. This is not unusual.
 
When Committee Chair John Arthur Smith called the hearing to order the first item was SB11. Sen. Cisneros and Rep. Chandler pointed out that the same bill had passed both houses a year earlier only to be vetoed by the governor.
 
Only one senator, Gay Kernan, a Republican representing Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties asked a question. She asked about any potential impact upon pit production at LANL. She also expressed hope that the bill supporters would support similar efforts in her area should the need arise (the DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is in Eddy County).
 
Next, Sen. Smith asked for audience members in favor of the bill to raise their hands. We were joined in raising our hands by the County’s lobbyist, Scott Scanland, RCLC Executive Director Eric Vasquez and North Central Regional Transit District Executive Director Tony Mortillaro. Mortillaro also is a former Los Alamos County manager. Then Sen. Smith asked for a show of hands from anyone opposing the bill. There were none.
 
Sen. Munoz, representing Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties, moved a “Do Pass” recommendation for the bill. Sen. Nancy Rodriguez representing Santa Fe County seconded the motion and it passed unanimously without further discussion.

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