RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post
“The time to act on Senate Bill 17 is now,” Regional Coalition of LANL Communities Executive Director Andrea Romero told Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee members Friday in Santa Fe.
SB 17 is a bill to stabilize gross receipts tax revenues received from prime contractors at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.
Romero told the Committee prime contractors at the Labs have a long track record of paying tax in New Mexico – at Sandia since 1979 and at Los Alamos since 2006. She said in Fiscal Year 2016, the State received some $162 million paid through the two contracts through GRT.
“The cost of GRT is of no consequence to the contractor’s bottom line and is an allowable pass-through cost by the federal government, a simple cost of doing business, the same as every other National Nuclear Security Administration site in the nation,” Romero said.
Romero said both Lab operators are for-profit entities and that at Sandia, a for-profit newly transitioned in 2017 to manage and operate that Lab – chance decision in that the entity is organized so that the State can continue to receive GRT revenues. She said if a non-for-profit is not selected as the contractor at LANL the Legislative Finance Council estimates the State will lose some $25 to $30 million year beginning Oct. 1.
“This session marks the last possible time for our legislature to ensure this tax is preserved to the State. The time to act on SB 17 is now,” she said.
Romero said several not-for-profit contractors have said they responded to the request for proposals for the LANL M&O contract and that others may also stand as interested parties.
“We want the NNSA to choose the best contractor; we just don’t want it to be at the State and local communities’ expense,” she said. “I’m here representing the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, nine communities surrounding LANL collectively speaking in favor of SB 17,” she said, adding that the County and City of Santa Fe, the Town and County of Taos, Rio Arriba County, Los Alamos County and the City of Espanola have all drafted resolutions in favor of the bill as well as the North Central Regional Transit District, the New Mexico Municipal League and New Mexico Association of Counties.
Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard told the Los Alamos Daily Post this afternoon that she is very pleased the Committee voted unanimously in support of the bill and that she will be paying close attention as it moves into the Senate Finance Committee.
”This bill is extremely important to Los Alamos and the surrounding communities,” she said.
No date appears to have been set for that hearing. SB17 is sponsored by Garcia Richard, Sen. Richard C. Martinez and Sen. Carlos R. Cisneros.