A key Legislative Committee Voted unanimously Wednesday (1/23) to approve a proposal that would incrementally increase minimum salaries for public school teachers and Principals. This vote moves our teaches salaries competitive with places like El Paso. The proposal calls for the starting salary for Level 1 teachers to rise from $36, 000 annually to $45,000 by 2022. It calls for Level 2 teachers increases from $44,000 to $55,000 by 2022, Level 3 teachers pay would go from $54,000 to $65,000 by 2022. Levels are determined by the number of years of experience and teacher evaluations. The minimum salaries for licensed school principals are linked to Level 3 teacher pay and would rise with those salaries. In discussion with the Governor staff they have advised me that the Governor is behind this and is also looking at a 6 percent this year for all school personal.
State legislators on Wednesday pushed forward with tax reform efforts aimed at reducing state government's dependence on a volatile oil and natural gas sector and providing steady funding for road maintenance, public schools and teacher pay increases.
The legislation seeks to increase annual state revenues by about $100 million at the same time it would shrink reliance on a pillar of the state tax code — the gross receipts tax on sales and business services. It also would increase some state personal income tax rates and the per-gallon tax on gasoline. Jim Trujillo, the bill's Democratic sponsor and chairman of the lead House taxation committee, said tax code changes are necessary to cover proposed new educational spending.
"The executive has offered to give teachers a 6 percent pay increase," he said. "We support teachers, but it's recurring expenses forever. So if we have a slow-down in the economy, where are we going to get the money to honor those commitments?"
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed a $500 million increase to annual state spending on public education. The state is forecasting a $1.1 billion budget surplus for the coming fiscal year because of surging oil production.
The state's school district and charter schools rely almost entirely on state general fund spending and investment returns.
The proposed gross receipts tax reduction of 0.5 percent would trim annual state government income by an estimated $364 million annually, said Jon Clark, staff economist for the legislative finance committee.
To replace that money, Democratic lawmakers have proposed increasing the gasoline sales tax by 10 cents a gallon to 27 cents.
Personal income tax rates, currently capped at 4.9 percent, would increase for single filers who over $23,500.
The rate would increase to 5.5 percent for individuals earning between $50,000 and $100,000, and joint filers earning between $75,000 and $150,000, according to a fiscal analysis published by the Legislature.