(Feb. 17, 2022) The 2022 legislative session was a huge success. I am extremely proud of the New Mexico Legislature for its consequential accomplishments to improve the lives of the residents of our state during its 30-day meeting that ended at noon today. Historic revenues enabled legislators to make wise, needed, and substantial investments to better New Mexico immediately and for the long-term. They seized this moment to do so.
Top highlights of the 2022 legislative session for me included broadly expanding access to tuition-free college and trade school for tens of thousands more New Mexicans with passage of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s bold higher education initiative, ‘The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship’. With this program, we are now leading the way in the nation for free college for all.
The legislature also heard the Governor’s call to make New Mexico’s educators the best-compensated in the southwest region, and took action by increasing educator base salary levels by an average of 20 percent. It marks the largest pay increase for public school educators in many years, and demonstrates our continuing commitment to improving the classroom education of all our students.
Additionally, the legislature embraced with bipartisan support the Governor’s tax cut proposals that put money back in the pockets of residents by eliminating the state tax on Social Security benefits of low and middle-income New Mexicans, and cutting the Gross Receipts Tax for the first time in 40 years. These measures promise economic and financial success across the state.
Lastly, we invested more than $800 million in capital outlay for infrastructure needs across our state: better roads and highways, community centers and senior centers, veterans, public school repairs and improvements, and more. It means more jobs and economic activity now.
While presiding in the Senate over the past month, I was grateful that despite policy differences and disagreements, senators showed strong respect and decorum throughout in recognition of our common love for this state of ours, and our hopes for the next generation of New Mexicans.