NM Lawmakers Consider Tax Hikes

New Mexico – The Legislature is back at work with a difficult assignment of raising taxes and cutting spending to balance the state budget next year.

Democrats and Republicans huddled in closed-door caucus meetings for much of Monday to review budget-balancing proposals by legislative leaders.

Gov. Bill Richardson called a special session after lawmakers failed to approve a budget during a 30-day session that ended last month.

Democratic leaders negotiated a budget-balancing package that calls for more than $200 million in tax increases. Included are a quarter-cent increase in the gross receipts tax, a cigarette tax increase and reinstating a portion of the gross receipts tax on food.

The special session began Monday, with the Senate the first to convene in early afternoon.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.