Los Alamos Chamber Legislative Positions For 2016

CHAMBER News:
 
Economic Development 
 
Support
  • HB34 (Rep. Adkins) Post-Thanksgiving Gross Receipts Deduction (Small BusinessSaturday)
  • HB63 (Rep. Dennis Roche) No indemnity/medical benefits under workman’s compensation if worker’s injury or death resulted from alcohol/drug use at the time.
  • HB139 (Rep. Garcia Richard) Changing the criteria to allow LEDA for Retail Projects
  • HB194 (Rep. Cathrynn Brown) “Employer Responsibility” legislation for worker’s compensation
  • HB195 (Rep. Randal Crowder) Clarifying workers comp that employers and insurance companies don’t have to pay for employee medical cannabis use
  • HB200 (Rep. Nora Espinoza) Fix Prevailing Wage
  • State preemption of local employment law
  • HB140 (Rep. Larry Larranaga) Natural gas public utility infrastructure expansion
  • Unemployment Insurance legislation that will not have a negative consequence for business owners or risk the solvency of the fund
  • SB92 (Senator Ted Barela) Administration and Jobs Council recommendation to create Rapid Workforce Deployment and fund at $1.25M
  • Administration recommendation of $500K and LFC recommendation of $500K for New Mexico MainStreet program
  • Legislative Jobs Council recommendation of appropriation of $2M for The New Mexico Partnership
  • (Rep. Don Tripp and Sen. Mary Kay Papen) Jobs Council recommendation for $2.25M to fund the Economic Development Grant Act
  • Administration and Jobs Council recommendation of $8M non-recurring and $2M recurring for JTIP
 
Oppose
  • Increase in Minimum Wage – The Chamber’s position on a state-wide minimum wage increase is that if such an increase is passed, we support ensuring that the resulting increase will not make New Mexico less competitive than surrounding states in the region and that it is written is such a way as to protect small businesses.  We do oppose annual indexing increases.  
 
TOURISM
Support
  • Administration and Jobs Council recommendation of $2.3M
 
Memorials
Support
  • HJM3 (Rep. Garcia Richard) Endorsing the naming of a United States Naval Submarine as the USS Los Alamos
 
Narrative Explanation of Positions:
 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT  

WATCH – NO POSITION

Right-to-Work 
In a case currently before the United States Supreme Court brought by teachers in California opposing mandatory dues payment to the union, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy noted, “The union is basically making the teachers compelled-riders on issues with which they strongly disagree.” Gov. Martinez in putting right-to-work on the call for this session stated: “Adopting a right-to-work law would make the state more competitive when it comes to attracting businesses.” 

SUPPORT

Inherent in the future well-being of New Mexico is the creation of jobs. In order to create jobs, the state must have an environment that supports existing businesses and their expansion while also attracting new businesses to the state. These need to be quality jobs. We need to focus our efforts and resources on those types of businesses in which we excel including energy development, tourism, trade and exports, high tech as well as others. We must also focus on ensuring, to the degree that is possible, that all the communities and areas throughout our state can participate in and benefit from a healthy economy. For this reason we support the legislation listed below.

HB34 (Rep. Adkins) Post-Thanksgiving Gross Receipts Deduction – For the last several years, the Chamber has supported Small Business Saturday in Los Alamos. This legislation would provide a GRT deduction to restaurants and small retailers (under $2M annual revenues) that are open for business on Small Business Saturday.

HB63 (Rep. Dennis Roche) No indemnity/medical benefits under workman’s compensation if worker’s injury or death resulted from alcohol/drug use at the time  For the last several years, the Chamber has supported legislation that would disqualify a worker from all worker’s comp benefits payable, indemnity or medical, when the worker’s injury or death was a result of intoxication from alcohol or drugs in any degree. Disqualification would also occur if the worker refused to submit to or provide the results of a post-accident test for alcohol or drugs. This is a safety issue not only for the worker, but also for those working with and around that worker. Nor do we believe that employers should be required to pay for an injury or death for which the worker is responsible due to drug or alcohol use.  We urge support for HB63 sponsored by Representative Dennis Roche.

HB139 (Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard) – The Chamber supports legislation that would improve the economy of Los Alamos and increase business’ ability to serve both residents and tourists. This legislation would assist communities with a population less than 10,000; and, it would assist communities up to 25,000 IF the economic development project is not funded or financed with state government revenues. This legislation would allow the provision of direct or indirect assistance to a qualifying retail business project with Local Economic Development Act funds for the purchase, lease, grant, construction, reconstruction, improvement or other acquisition or conveyance of land, buildings or other infrastructure; public works improvements essential to the location or expansion of a qualifying  entity; payments for professional services contracts necessary for local or regional governments to implement a plan or project; the provision of direct loans or grants for land, buildings or infrastructure; technical assistance to cultural facilities; and loan guarantees securing the cost of land or buildings.

HB194 (Rep. Cathrynn Brown) “Employer Responsibility” legislation for worker’s compensation  The Chamber supports legislation to clarify worker’s compensation language following a court order regarding payment of wage replacement benefits.

HB195 (Rep. Randal Crowder) Clarifying workers compensation that employers and insurance companies don’t have to pay for employee medical cannabis use  This legislation is intended to clarify worker’s compensation language related to employers being held responsible for payment for cannabis for employees who have received a medical marijuana card. The Chamber supports the legislation.

HB200 (Rep. Nora Espinoza) Fix Prevailing Wage  During the 2009 session, SB33 was passed changing the way in which prevailing wage was determined. Prior to that time, prevailing wage had been set based on a survey of both union and non-union construction contracts. Currently, as result of enactment of SB33, prevailing wage is determined solely by union collective bargaining agreements. Given that 92% of the construction industry is non-union, the resulting prevailing wage is now determined by only 8% of the construction industry. This has resulted in significantly higher costs to taxpayers and business stretching already tight budgets even further. The Chamber supports a solution through legislation to rectify this situation. This legislation will carve educational institutions and roads out of prevailing wage. It will also take us back to a survey of union and non-union contractors as was originally done and takes a weighted average to come up with prevailing wage.   This legislation will also ensure that wages will not exceed federal Davis Bacon wages.

State preemption of local employment law  While we generally support the right of local communities to pass laws and ordinances specific to their jurisdictions, it has become apparent that often these actions can have a negative impact on businesses as it relates to employee relations. This can become even more burdensome when businesses have multiple locations. We support legislation that would prohibit local government entities from adopting ordinances related to employee wages and benefits, which can impose mandates on businesses that are unworkable or fiscally problematic while having the effect of discouraging businesses from locating to these communities and even forcing them to relocate to other communities. No one benefits under these conditions.

HB140 (Rep. Larry Larranaga) Natural gas public utility infrastructure expansion  This legislation if enacted, would promote economic development in the state by providing natural gas service to both unserved and underserved areas thus attracting and retaining business and residential customers. It would also encourage new and diverse businesses and industries that rely on natural gas to begin new businesses or expand existing businesses in New Mexico. The bill sets requirements for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to adopt rules to implement provisions of the act within 180 days from the effective date of the act. The Chamber encourages legislators to support this economically important legislation.

Unemployment Insurance Legislation that will not have a negative consequence for business owners or risk the solvency of the fund  The Chamber will support unemployment insurance legislation that will help relieve the burden on businesses who were hit hard while protecting other businesses from being hurt, and that will protect the solvency of the fund.

SB92 (Senator Ted Barela) Administration and Jobs Council recommendation to create Rapid Workforce Deployment and fund it at $1.25M  The Chamber urges support for passage of SB92 which would provide funding to the State’s higher education institutions for training of potential employees for not only existing employers in the State but also for those employers who have chosen to relocate to New Mexico and will be hiring employees residing in the State. Every tool the State can provide to encourage expansion or relocation of business to New Mexico is critical to the State’s economic well-being.

Administration recommendation of $500K and LFC recommendation of $500K for New Mexico MainStreet program  The Chamber supports the recommendations of the LFC and the administration for recurring funding for New Mexico MainStreet programs. In the past year in New Mexico, MainStreet programs resulted in a gain of 118 new businesses and saw a net increase of 612 new jobs. MainStreet Districts also saw 196 private sector building rehabilitations and more than $9.8 million in private reinvestment making it one of the most cost effective job creation programs in New Mexico.

Jobs Council recommendation of appropriation to $2M for The New Mexico Partnership  The New Mexico Partnership is contracted by the New Mexico Economic Development Department to be the one stop shop for locating and expanding businesses in New Mexico. The Partnership offers a coordinated approach and a formal network of economic developers to simplify the site selection process by providing information and support regarding incentives, workforce training programs, and real estate sites and buildings.

(Rep. Don Tripp and Sen. Mary Kay Papen) Jobs Council recommendation for $2.25M to fund the Economic Development Grant Act  Economic development and growth are essential to New Mexico’s future. The Chamber supports fully funding this program which was enacted last session. The purpose of the Economic Development Grant Act is to provide matching state grants to local and regional economic development agencies to expand the economic development and job-creation capacities of those agencies through employment of economic development professionals. The “economic development grant program” was created in the Economic Development Department with oversight to be provided by the Economic Development Commission and administrative assistance to be handled by the Economic Development Department.  The Program will allow grants of up to fifty percent of the cost to the agencies to hire economic development professionals in order to expand economic development or job creation efforts in the local or regional areas of the state.

 Administration and Jobs Council recommendation of $8M non-recurring and $2M recurring for JTIP  The Administration and Jobs Council have recommended funding of $8M non-recurring and $2M recurring for JTIP. The Economic Development Department (EDD) reports that funds for this program came dangerously close to being exhausted in the last fiscal year when the program ran out of money in February. However, due to language incorporated during the last session, the program was able to access funding prior to the start of the next fiscal year. JTIP is a critical recruiting tool in the state second only to LEDA, the state’s closing fund. It is recognized as one of the top five workforce development programs in the country. The Chamber urges the Legislature to support JTIP at the recommended level.

OPPOSE

Minimum Wage Increase  The Chamber’s position on a state-wide minimum wage increase is that if such an increase is passed, we support ensuring that the resulting increase will not make New Mexico less competitive than surrounding states in the region and that it is written is such a way as to protect small businesses. We do oppose annual indexing increases.  

TOURISM

SUPPORT
 
Administration and Jobs Council recommendation of $2.3M  The Chamber strongly supports the Administration and Jobs Council recommendation for $2.3M for the Tourism Department. Tourism has been major factor in improving the state’s economy. From 2010 through 2014, tourism in New Mexico has significantly increased as a direct result of the actions of the Tourism Department. All domestic visitors increased by 9.7%. Accommodation sector taxable gross receipts increased 17.4%. Accommodation sector gross receipts taxes increased 20.7%. Hotel and motel lodging receipts increased 15.3%. Leisure and hospitality jobs increased 8.4%. Tourism sales in New Mexico increased 16.8%. Given the importance of the tourism industry to New Mexico’s economy we wonder why the LFC cut funding for the Tourism Department. While the falling price of oil and gas has hurt the state, the resultant lowering of gasoline prices and availability of increased disposable income has made travel and tourism an even more attractive spending option.
CSTsiteisloaded