From Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Today Governor Lujan Grisham expressed hope that she will allow more businesses to reopen “on track”, per her Phased in Plan, on June 1. She named dine-in restaurants, malls, gyms and salons. She acknowledged the state economy is suffering by the closures brought on by the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Santa Fe New Mexican 05-19-2020: State leaders from both major political parties have argued the Legislature must reconvene before the new fiscal year starts July 1 to deal with those financial challenges, which likely will impact budgets already put in place for state agencies. Lujan Grisham said based on economic expert predictions, the state is likely looking at a projected budget gap of about $2.4 billion — which the Legislature will have to address in that special session.
The Governor said a special legislative session will be held beginning June 18, 2020. State officials are hoping federal aid money can help fill in some of the gaps and help the state avoid laying off or furloughing many government employees. But, she said, a hiring freeze is possible and her goal is to not have any “huge negative” consequences in adjusting the fiscal year 2021 budget.
WHAT WERE HOPING FOR SOON
Reopenings for other businesses (dine-in restaurants, salons, gyms, malls, other services)
How do we get there?
- Reduce spread of virus (stay home and stay physically distant!)
- Stay healthy
- Protect first responders and health care workers and hospital resources
We are following the public health data, not what other states are doing.
PART 2 OF PHASE 1 GOAL: EARLY JUNE
More high-intensity contact could be phased in
- Salons, barbers, gyms, indoor malls, dine-in restaurants (with limited occupancy; COVID-safe practices in place)
- Potential expansions of occupancy limits for houses of worship, hotels/motels
State must continue to show progress with gating criteria
- Rate of transmission; testing; contact tracing; PPE/hospital capacity
New Mexicans’ personal decisions will determine whether we can continue to move forward safely.
Support for Businesses
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued a guide to forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program loans to help businesses navigate the process with an easy to understand explanation and regularly updated guidance from the Treasury Department.
The Chamber has continued to advocate for businesses and New Mexico with letters to federal legislative leaders, including the request below to allow for flexibility in how states spend federal aid in order to allow for that aid to make the most meaningful impact on the state’s COVID-19 response and fiscal situation.
Dear Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation,
Every state in the country is experiencing the serious economic consequences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This reduction in economic activity is adversely affecting state and local government revenues across the country, and is especially problematic in places like New Mexico, where such a large share of our state and local tax base is dependent upon gross receipts tax collections. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the fiscal challenges facing our state.
Exacerbating the effects of the pandemic, the recent historic crash in energy prices and its impact on oil and gas production in New Mexico is projected to lead to a 25-3096 reduction in state revenues — between $1.7 and $2.4 billion. Strong reserves should help New Mexico weather the financial impact in the current fiscal year ending June 30., but our fiscal position for the coming year is dire. When over one-third of our state revenues are attributable to oil and gas production, there is no other way to describe New Mexico’s situation.
We respectfully request that Congress provide state and local governments greater flexibility in spending the federal aid already appropriated, allowing these federal dollars to mitigate the fiscal catastrophe our state will otherwise face. We understand why Congress originally chose to place significant restrictions on the use of federal aid, but every state — regardless of size, demographics, or political leadership —is facing an enormous challenge in managing their unique public health and economic emergency, and we believe the aid should be used to meet each state’s most pressing needs.