At a public meeting held Friday at Portales City Hall, New Mexico State Rep. Dennis Roch visited with Portales residents and officials about what happened in the 2012 Legislative session. The following are items, which were discussed:
• Roch said the state has a $5.6 billion budget for this year and the budget passed with 70 to 0 votes in the House as opposed to last year when it passed 35 to 34 votes.
He also told residents due to economical recovery, the budget is $250 million above the average flat level budget as opposed to last year when it was $250 million behind.
• Roch said House Bill 184 and 256 will help create tax breaks for businesses in the state by not charging gross receipt tax for services previously made on buildings purchased.
He told residents these bills being passed will give businesses incentive to come to New Mexico.
• Roch also said Senate Bill 56 passed, which allows emergency licenses to be given to commercial vehicles transporting hay to New Mexico in order to make feeding livestock easier.
• Roch said he and other local representatives were unsuccessful in trying to push through House Bill 162, which would allow military retirement benefits to no longer be taxed in New Mexico.
• Roch said two education bills he had hoped to see pushed through did not make it through legislation.
Senate Bill 96 said students would not progress pass third grade until they are proficient in reading. He said their were too many concerns among Senate and House members about whether parents should have a say in the matter.
House Bill 249 (which he introduced) said teachers would be evaluated by how much their students progressed under their instruction.
• Residents expressed concerns about the conditions of local roads and not enough funds being given to fix them.
Roch told residents state road funds have not been high, because they are not being replenished as they should be due to funds being taken from the roads to be used for other concerns, such as excise tax on vehicles.
• Roch said House Bill 116 passed legislation, which will allow a tax break for companies which convert electricity.
He said legislators have hopes it will encourage the Tres Amigas company to build their headquarters for their power conversion station in New Mexico.