Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey present HB 332 to the House Business and Industry Committee. Courtesy photo
A bill strongly supported by Los Alamos County that would remove the gross receipts tax exemptions from any non-profit organization who would administer the prime contract of any national laboratory in the state cleared its first committee Wednesday with a unanimous Do Pass vote by the House Business and Industry Committee.
House Bill 332, sponsored by Los Alamos area Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard seeks to remove the exemption on state gross receipts tax from non-profit prime contractors for receipts that are derived from operating a national lab. The bill was introduced ahead of the so-called “prime contract” to administer Los Alamos National Laboratory being rebid in 2018.
“It is important that we understand that this is not a Los Alamos issue, this is a statewide issue,” Garcia Richard said. “All of New Mexico benefits from hosting our two national laboratories and so this is a bill that is important for the entire state.”
Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey and Council Chair David Izraelivitz were both on hand to support passage of the bill.
“It is important that the state legislature act on this today. If HB 332 is enacted this year, that sets the table for the new contract to be bid next year; no one can say that we changed the rules in the middle of bidding or awarding the contract,” Sheehey said.
He went on to emphasis that requiring both for-profit and non-profit contractors to pay the same GRT lets the decision-makers focus on who can do the job best when awarding the contract. Council Chair Izraelivitz emphasized the importance that these revenues have on social and support services that local and state governments are able to provide for their residents. He highlighted the economic impact that LANL has on Los Alamos, the region and the state.
Joining the councilors in support of the bill were members of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, a coalition of area elected officials who come together to advocate for issues in support of their communities and the lab. County commissioners and staff from Rio Arriba and Santa Fe County stood in support of the bill. Espanola Mayor Alice Lucero gave public testimony in support of the entire region around LANL working together with one voice in support of the lab.
House Bill 332 now moves on for a hearing in the House Taxation and Revenue committee.