- Associated Press - Thursday, March 2, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Latest on proposed tax increases amid budget crisis in New Mexico (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

The New Mexico Senate has approved a plan to shore up state reserves and boost road maintenance spending by increasing taxes on gasoline, diesel and vehicle sales.

Senators in the Democratic majority were joined by three Republicans on Thursday in approving a bill to raise about $180 million annually.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith supports the tax increases as a way to protect the state’s credit rating and avoid cuts to spending on public schools, health care and public safety.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which has approved its own $250 million package of revenue increases that include a tax hike on vehicle sales.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has voiced opposition to outright tax increases as New Mexico wrestles with a budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

___

3:00 a.m.

A clash over whether to increase taxes in New Mexico is escalating as Democratic lawmakers push forward with a proposal to raise the state’s tax on gasoline.

Deliberations were scheduled Thursday on the Senate floor for a plan to add 10 cents a gallon to the state tax on retail gasoline sales. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has urged lawmakers to look for alternatives to tax increases to bridge the budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

A bill backed by Democratic Sens. Clemente Sanchez and John Arthur Smith would raise about $180 million a year from increased taxes on gasoline, specialty fuels, and motor vehicle sales with additional fees.

New revenues would bolster state reserves and fund road and bridge projects to stimulate a sluggish state economy.


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