Policy Priorities

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2021 Policy Agenda Priorities are presented in alphabetical order by Committees.

Agriculture & Food Processing

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Seed standardization legislation to ensure the consistent statewide regulation of seeds;
• Reinstating the requirement that the New Mexico Department of Transportation erect and maintain fencing along state highways to prevent livestock from entering our public highways;
• Maintaining the integrity of predator control measures on both public and private lands;
• Addressing the feral/wild horse population in New Mexico and the New Mexico Livestock Board having jurisdiction to address the problem;
• Protecting the integrity of agriculture land valuation as currently exists in statute;
• Development of new visa and foreign worker programs that are more efficient than the existing H-2A program;
• Preserving the integrity of the workers’ compensation system to ensure quick and efficient delivery of benefits to injured workers, to maximize medical rehabilitation and return-to-work outcomes at a fair cost to the employers, which will also foster business investment and job creation;
• Legislation requiring that all imported, processed foods, ready for consumption, meet the same standards as identified by the FDA for domestic processors;
• Maintaining funding for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture;
• Funding for New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES);
• Revising or eliminating regulations, both federal and state, that are not based on sound, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence; • Responsible use and management of our lands, including working forests that support and grow industries including farming & ranching, hunting & outfitting, timber harvest & energy transmission; • Efforts to protect watersheds and reduce wildfire risk by thinning overstocked stands, clearing away vegetation and trees to create shaded fuel breaks and increase wildlife habitat, increasing livestock grazing opportunities, providing funding and guidance to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels in forested lands of New Mexico;
• Existing statutory framework which prevents public trespass in streambeds located on private property;
• The existence, preservation, and promotion of a healthy hunting, fishing and outfitting industry; and,
• Assistance from the state of New Mexico in addressing the newly discovered PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) groundwater contamination issue with the appropriate federal agencies.

Economic Development & Technology

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• The investment tax credit and expanding the credit to go against either compensating tax or gross receipts tax;
• Full and increased investment in strategic economic development programs such as JTIP, LEDA, and the Rapid Workforce Development fund, as well as enhancing the tools available, to incentivize business investment, and job creation;
• Full and increased investment for the New Mexico Partnership, local economic development organizations, the New Mexico Economic Development Department, and the New Mexico Tourism Department, for marketing and promotional activities;
• Opening the Angel Investment Tax Credit to out-of-state investors to increase the diversity pool of potential investors;
• Incentivizing individuals to invest in a new or existing New Mexico company;
• Coordinated initiatives and legislative actions for broadband infrastructure and access and beneficial tax policies, NMCC representation on state broadband advisory committees, increased DOIT technical and new grant writing staff, continuing follow-up actions on contractor reports, and active exploration for the adoption of new technologies such as low orbit satellites;
• Legislation for public-private partnerships in fiber-optic broadband infrastructure for rural and frontier New Mexico to aid telehealth, education, and economic development;
• Legislation reducing financial, regulatory, and other barriers to facilitate the deployment of broadband equipment, 5G, advanced networks, as well as right of way, shared utility poles, trenching, and other actions;
• New Mexico’s continued application for all available and relevant federal government funds and grants for broadband;
• Implementation of the local, state, and federal procurement codes in a consistent, efficient and transparent manner that allows companies in New Mexico to effectively compete in the procurement process;
• Proactive investments in robust infrastructure programs that are essential for economic growth and prosperity including roads and highways, water, sewer, power, natural gas, and advanced telecommunications;
• Incentivizing New Mexico’s National Laboratories to create and continue community projects throughout the state, particularly those focused on technology transfer;
• Creation of an Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit;
• Entrepreneurial mindset training as a component of the mandatory training for individuals drawing unemployment through the Department of Workforce Solutions;
• The creation of a research grants closing fund to help Universities and Colleges apply for and win proposals for research grants;
• Investments in Spaceport America infrastructure to attract new business to Southern NM;
• A sustainable process by which the state supports public-private investments to drive economic development;
• Infusing money into NMPartnership for overseas country representation and marketing to companies looking to on-shore or near-shore;
• Implementing new strategies to infuse money into retail, service and tourism industries, such as: liquor license reform, alcohol delivery, and allowing restaurants to sell New Mexico beer, wine and spirits to-go;
• Providing grants/loans to small businesses for expenses like rent, payroll, and PPE using CARES Act funding or other state funding vehicles;
• Maintaining capital project financing even if it needs to shift to bond financing;
• Deregulating the process of getting New Mexico meat to New Mexico consumers;
• Creating a Governor’s commission to explore ways to expand economic development opportunities without violating the Anti-donation Clause; and,
• Adjust the legislative guidance to the State Investment Council to increase investments in sector-based companies and/or support for small businesses in New Mexico; and,
• A retiree attraction program.

Education & Workforce Development

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Providing support to the pre-K-20 education system to address issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic;
• Prioritizing educational funding, realizing that more than 50% of the State’s budget is dedicated to education. Special funding appropriations approved during the 2020 Legislative Session should be closely examined for optional funding mechanisms or timing changes, including such concepts as the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund, teacher raises, and K-5-Plus deployment,
• Sustaining current Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and existing collaborations between PED, Community and Branch Colleges, the State’s Workforce Boards and private sector industries targeted by Economic Development;
• Developing a public-private partnership between PED/HED and telecommunication providers in New Mexico, supported by state investments, to bring affordable broadband capacity to every region of the state. Regulatory hurdles that are preventing that build-out should be removed. The COVID-19 Pandemic exposed significant disparities that exist with respect to distance learning opportunities for rural New Mexico, Native American Tribes, and Pueblos, as well as some disadvantaged urban communities;
• Implementing new and/or existing programming for students that provides flexibility for distance learning, in case of school closures due to COVID;
• Developing and rapidly implementing special programs to provide distance learning professional development to teachers and administrators; Quality childcare and education programs that are focused on a child’s success in school, measure child outcomes and encourage continued training opportunities and other initiatives to retain staff in early childhood settings;
• Efforts to ensure fiscal and program accountability at all levels for state-funded programs, from early childhood through higher education, rooted in student outcomes;
• A statewide plan that identifies and provides leadership training for school administrators, including principals and superintendents, that includes best practices
from business and education, including the criteria identified in the Baldrige Excellence Framework for education;
• Equalized funding and continued accountability across the public education sector, including charter schools;
• Legislation to aid charter schools in obtaining funds for facilities; • Increased aid for students studying in high demand fields such as STEM, skilled trades, and healthcare at New Mexico higher education institutions;
• Legislation supporting the new Early Childhood Trust Fund, including ensuring the fund is not dismantled and looking for additional opportunities to grow the fund;
• The implementation of systems that allow for the transparent reporting of education funding at the school level;
• Coordinated high school and college workforce development programs that address New Mexico’s needs such as STEM, skilled trades, healthcare, job search and soft skills;
• Improved pathways for educators to advance in their licensure based on demonstrated classroom performance and outcomes;
• Ongoing workforce analysis to determine the number and level of skills needed for current employers, as well as those needed for future economic development, and widely disseminating this information;
• Educational initiatives that contribute to increasing the overall educational attainment of New Mexico’s populace, including more efficient transfer between institutions and increased access to alternative educational pathways;
• Creative and innovative efforts to reduce school dropout rate and alternative ways to assess the effectiveness of schools that are created to serve dropouts;
• A sustainable plan for the lottery scholarship to maximize the state’s return on investment; and,
• Development of a teacher evaluation based on measurable student achievement and a policy that encourages continued training opportunities for teachers.

NMCC OPPOSES:

• Any additional distribution from the NM Land Grant Permanent Fund unless there are sufficient protections;
• A moratorium on charter schools; and,
• Broad-brush “sweeps” of school district funds that are often planned for critical local needs.

Energy and Extractive Industries

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Policies that provide for the commercially viable development of energy infrastructure;
• Creation of stable and predictable financing and financing opportunities that allow energy companies to fund a move to clean and renewable energy generation sources and to prioritize long-term energy solutions that are affordable and considerate of New Mexico’s fiscal environment;
• Standards or regulations, both on the state and federal level, that are based upon objectively verifiable and widely accepted science, and that are commercially viable
and encourage innovation, job creation, job retention, economic development, and emerging technologies;
• Continued growth of New Mexico’s energy and extractive industries through reasonable government policies, regulations and practices that are commercially viable, predictable, and time-sensitive, that encourage private capital investment in New Mexico, and that result in private sector job creation;
• The development of promising new or continuing mineral extraction or production projects involving deposits of copper, garnet, potash, dolomite, magnesium, zeolite, coal, humate, uranium, rare earth elements, and other precious, specialty, and industrial minerals, as well as shale resources, all of which hold significant potential for bringing jobs and economic development to rural parts of New Mexico;
• Incentivizing the recycling and reuse of produced or otherwise available water, encouraging research and investment in water treatment technologies, and removing legal impediments to such activities;
• State level management of natural resources, including water and minerals, rather than local level government regulation, which could be used to restrict or preclude development, to the detriment of the state and its citizens;
• Developing infrastructure for facilitating the goals and requirements of the Energy Transition Act, including but not limited to wind, solar and other renewable energy generation facilities and transmission lines to move the energy to markets both inside and outside New Mexico;
• The development of clean energy resources, such as wind and solar, and new technology like battery storage, which will allow the state to benefit from the economic development opportunities that come from hosting these projects.
• Discussions of methane-related rulemaking efforts that include input from the oil and gas industry.

NMCC OPPOSES:

• Efforts to impose moratoria on lawful oil and gas and mining extraction activities;
• Duplication of financial assurance requirements and efforts to narrow or eliminate the means and methods of providing financial assurance where it is legally required;
• Legislation, regulations, or other initiatives that would impose unreasonable burdens on the oil and gas and mining industries’ responsible exploration, development, production (including hydraulic fracturing and venting and flaring activities, in the case of the oil and gas industry, and all forms of surface, underground and in-situ methods, in the case of the mining industry), transportation, and processing/refining activities;
• Legislation, regulations, designations and resource management plans that unreasonably curtail or limit access by energy and extractive industries to federal public and state trust lands for exploration, development, production and processing;
• Legislation and regulations which add additional hurdles to the siting of energy infrastructure;
• Efforts to increase royalty rates on oil/gas or mining production;
• Efforts to create a State “mini-NEPA” process, and;
• Efforts by local governments to enact ordinances that regulate extractive industries beyond regulations already provided by federal and state governments.

Environment, Water & Land Use

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Reforming the regulatory and administrative process that eliminates delays in permit processing and promotes consistent, reasonable, and predictable administrative processes including policy development, permitting, enforcement and compliance procedures;
• Placing a reasonable limit on fines and penalties that state or local governments may assess without court action;
• Managing regulation of natural resources, including water and minerals, by the State rather than local governments, which could be used to restrict or preclude development, to the detriment of the state;
• Utilizing the State Volkswagen (VW) Settlement Plan to decrease transportation emissions by using the $18M in funds to replace standard commercial and fleet vehicles with cleaner emissions technology such as electric, clean diesel, and natural gas. Also, build out of electric vehicle infrastructure on main highway corridors across New Mexico;
• Ensuring public lands remain available to support a healthy forest products industry consistent with multiple use policies, reasonable protections for endangered species and critical habitat, and fire management initiatives promoting healthy forests and watersheds.
• Evaluating relief measures for industry in Dona Ana, County, given ozone NAAQS non-attainment designation due to pollution transport from neighboring regions such as El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, and in Lea, Eddy, and San Juan Counties, given elevated ozone levels; and,
• The 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule that reflects the limits of the Clean Water Act and recognizes the unique conditions in the arid West.
• The creation of public-private partnerships to develop water infrastructure that will provide public benefits, such as economical infrastructure project delivery and water conservation;
• Incentivizing the recycling and reuse of produced or otherwise available water, encouraging research and investment in water treatment technologies, and removing legal impediments to such activities;
• Refining policies to provide clarity in the Office of State Engineer’s application of administrative procedure;
• Efforts to identify recurring funding for forest and watershed restoration;
• Updating the New Mexico state and regional water plans with strong involvement from the business community;
• A regulatory structure that encourages the development of new water sources and the infrastructure to support those sources;
• Allowing the transfer of water across major basin boundaries when it meets the conditions promulgated by the (OSE);
• Official and specific consideration of the negative economic impact of new land use and land use planning, and regulations on the landowner, municipality, or on business operations;
• Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) rules which only include those limited measures necessary to protect senior water rights and compact delivery requirements;
• Existing statutory framework which prevents public trespass in streambeds located on private property; and,
• Assistance from the state of New Mexico in addressing the newly discovered PFAS groundwater contamination issue with the appropriate federal agencies.

NMCC OPPOSES:

• Authorizing or funding non-governmental entities and private citizens to enforce state environmental regulations and permit requirements;
• Adding new legal frameworks that are duplicative of existing federal, state or local environmental review processes, or that expressly or implicitly create a new right of action to challenge capital outlays or permits on environmental review sufficiency grounds;
• Authorizing government denial of environmental permits based on a company’s past compliance history; including air quality construction and operating permits;
• Regulations that are more stringent than the federal regulations, unless specifically authorized by the Legislature to meet unique state conditions or concerns;
• Decisions concerning threatened or endangered species, both federal and state, that are not based on sound, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence;
• Federal regulatory initiatives and directives that threaten the authority of the states to govern the appropriation, allocation, protection, conservation, development, and management of the waters within their borders; and,
• Legislation that would increase uncertainty regarding the ability of New Mexico businesses to obtain permits, licenses or authorizations for business activities, that would impose environmental standards that are unnecessary to protect against reasonable risks to human health and the environment, based upon sound, objectively verifiable, scientific evidence, or that would impose undue economic burdens upon New Mexico businesses.

Healthcare

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Implementation or enhancement of sustainable, evidence-based programs that
o reduce inappropriate utilization of limited healthcare resources,
o ensure access to healthcare coverage for all New Mexicans,
o promote appropriate medication use; and,
o maintain healthcare plan options for New Mexico businesses and those purchasing coverage through the individual market;
• Enhancement of economically viable, sustainable, data-driven and evidence-based programs that ensure access to healthcare and coverage for all New Mexicans and that do not destabilize or collapse the commercial insurance market;
• Taking aggressive steps to ensure an adequate provider workforce to meet the increasing demands on the healthcare system and avert a looming crisis in provider access, particularly in areas of primary and behavioral healthcare, and facility-based long-term care providers;
• Maximization of federal funds through actions such as fully funding the state Medicaid program and hospital supplemental payments that support access to care, especially in rural areas;
• Minimizing premium cost impact on individuals, businesses, and carriers, by promoting and investing in processes that improve the management of chronic diseases/conditions in an outpatient setting to decrease unneeded hospitalization;
• Improvements to Centennial Care that ensure cost efficiency with sustainable provider funding and re-aligned incentives;
• Taking a phased and collaborative approach to replacing fee-for-service medicine with more effective, value-based, alternative payment models;
• Outcome-based healthcare that promotes the best outcomes for individual patients while controlling costs and minimizing the adoption of burdensome regulatory policies;
• Maintaining Medicaid and provider rates;
• Robust investment in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing;
• Utilizing CARES Act or other funding sources to provide grants/ loans programs for hospitals and providers impacted by reduced/delayed patient volume and increased expenses (PPE, screening, etc.) during the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Ensuring that the NM Department of Health utilizes Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) medical funding for expanded testing and public surveillance of COVID-19 through a robust partnership with existing hospitals and providers. This will allow for: support of economically impacted providers, ensuring continued care of positive patients, and use of existing infrastructure without having to rely on building new capacities in DOH employees;
• Initiatives that promote the appropriate use of opioids and other controlled substances to decrease the risk of dependency and combat overdose, by taking a multi-disciplinary clinical approach, which may include the use of evidence-based medically appropriate forms of pain management; and,
• Transparency in healthcare that provides greater accessibility to useful data and utilizes streamlined reporting systems and does not interfere with industry’s ability to enter into privately negotiated contracts or duplicate federal or state reporting that is already required.

NMCC OPPOSES:

Additional financial burdens on the healthcare industry, which ultimately lead to increased patient costs. The state needs to make legislative and regulatory decisions that focus on efficiency and effectiveness, while minimizing provider job loss and negative impacts to the provider infrastructure.

Taxation

NMCC SUPPORTS:

• Eliminating or significantly reducing GRT pyramiding for businesses by eliminating GRT for professional services used by businesses such as: Human Resources, payroll, accounting/bookkeeping, legal, temporary staffing, engineering/draftsman, and Information Technology;
• Moving from a tax-credit to a deduction for manufacturing equipment purchased or brought into the state;
• Attracting re-shoring and near-shoring opportunities by waiving GRT or compensating tax for new businesses building infrastructure in NM;
• Encouraging remote workers by waiving the corporate income tax nexus for out of state companies with no physical presence but who employ remote workers in New Mexico;
• A stable revenue system without a disproportionate burden on particular industries, individuals, or employers and in conjunction with a statewide economic development plan; and,
• Expansion of the single sales factor in the multi-state tax apportionment formula for corporate income tax.

NMCC OPPOSES:

• Shifting of property tax burdens from residential property to commercial property that could result from caps on residential valuation or tax rates.

Workplace, Legal & Government Accountability

NMCC SUPPORTS