Los Alamos and the Northern New Mexico region took a significant hit today when Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed Senate Bill 17.
Dubbed the Lab Tax Stabilization Bill, SB17 was introduced by Senators Carlos R. Cisneros and Richard C. Martinez and Dist. 42 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard. Its purpose was to stabilize gross receipts tax revenues received from prime contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
Garcia Richard spoke to the Los Alamos Daily Post this afternoon saying she was extremely disappointed – especially since the bill had broad bi-partisan support.
“With this veto message, the governor has not only put the state but our northern New Mexico communities at risk for her ideology … Gov. Martinez knows this bill is not a tax increase … we are simply asking to maintain the revenue the state and region receive for hosting a DOE facility.”
Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz also expressed his disappointment during a telephone interview today.
“The bill was designed to preserve our tax base and was not an increase,” Izraelevitz said. “We thought it was a good interim solution prior to comprehensive tax reform. If the new contractor is a nonprofit entity, vetoing this bill will have a very dramatic effect on the ability of Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico to provide needed services to its citizens and most specifically affect Los Alamos County in attracting the best and brightest people to the Lab.”
Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess released the following statement:
“We are understandably disappointed in the Governor’s veto of SB17. The bill had received widespread support in the House and Senate, and we felt it offered positive benefits to the State as well. Los Alamos National Laboratory is an economic driver not only for our community, but for neighboring jurisdictions across Northern New Mexico, and we all worked collectively to support the passage of this important bill.
“Without the assurance of a continued taxable status that would have been possible if SB17 was enacted into law, revenue collection for Los Alamos County and the region will be uncertain every time the federal government considers management changes at the Laboratory.
“The revenues we have received in recent years have allowed us to fund important infrastructure projects and services that any future LANL contractor will be relying upon for their operations and recruitment of employees; however, our future is now in a predicament as we await a decision in the next few months about the LANL O&M contract award.”