Bill Richardson, in his last State of the State address proposed this innovative policy:
Next, one group is making enormous sacrifices on behalf of our state, our country, and our freedom—brave New Mexicans serving in the U.S. military. We have done more than most states to show our gratitude. Let’s go a step further – Let’s eliminate the state’s income tax for active duty members of the military. Period. More than 190-thousand retired military veterans have made New Mexico their home. Many of those veterans put their skills to work in second careers. I believe we should acknowledge their benefit to our state, and encourage more skilled veterans to work here. I propose that we offer military retirees a 50 percent deduction of their earned income up to $50-thousand dollars.
Now, both proposals are reaching fruition in the New Mexico Legislature. New Mexico supporting our troops:
Military retirees in New Mexico who are now working in other fields would get a tax break under a bill passed 59-1 Thursday in the House of Representatives. The bill would exempt 50 percent of earned income, up to a $50,000 total exemption, from the state's personal income tax. It would not apply to income from a military pension. The bill is expected to be about an $8.7 million hit to the state's tax base, according to the fiscal impact report. But Rep. Edward Sandoval, D-Albuquerque, argued that the tax exemption would attract highly qualified workers to the state. "I think this will go a long way toward to helping our economic development," Sandoval said. He said the bill could, for example, bring more trained health care workers to New Mexico. The bill was part of a package of tax cuts proposed by Gov. Bill Richardson. "As many as 12,000 taxpayers would qualify for this relief," Richardson said at the time. "We want to attract second-career military retirees to New Mexico."
Instead of just talking about supporting the troops with rhetoric, Bill Richardson is actually pushing forward with positive and innovative dual-purpose policies. First, the policy rewards those that have served our nation and secondly,
...the military trains career service men and women in a variety of occupations that are in high demand in the state, particularly in the high-tech and health care fields.
Supporting the troops and also attracting highly qualified individuals to your state? Sounds like a win-win policy to me. Don't forget that Richardson proposed and implemented the nation's first extended life insurance program for National Guard servicepersons:
Gov. Bill Richardson signed a bill making the state the first to underwrite $250,000 in life insurance for National Guard members. The measure provides reimbursement for life insurance for more than 4,000 New Mexico Guard members, about 400 of whom are in Iraq. The basic premium is about $16 a month, which would cost New Mexico an estimated $840,000. Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, said 21 states had contacted him about the program.
Seeing opportunity and room for growth, Richardson has pushed forward with very exciting proposals to support our women and men from the armed services while also benefiting New Mexico. While many people can talk up supporting the troops, Richardson has made substantial efforts in trying to support them with his policies and his political capital.tr