New Mexico Legislative Session Ends with a Thud

Despite Governor’s Support EV Bills Fall Short

February 28, 2020 | Tammy Fiebelkorn

SWEEP is disappointed in the 2020 NM State Legislature’s failure to pass two vital pieces of energy efficiency and clean transportation legislation. Despite full support of the Governor, many lawmakers and low-income advocates, the legislature did not pass either SB114, the Community Energy Efficiency Development (CEED) block grant or SB2/HB217 the Electric Vehicle Income Tax Credit.

Despite the ultimate failure of these bills, we would like to thank our very strong and supportive sponsors. SB 114 sponsors Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Representative Andrea Romero worked very hard before and during the session to move this new concept forward and gain support from fellow lawmakers.

The EV Income Tax Credit bills, SB2 and HB 217, were sponsored by many legislators all of whom worked very hard to move these bills through committees and floor votes. SWEEP extends deep gratitude to all these sponsors, in particular Senator Pat Woods, Representative Jim Trujillo and Representative Micaela Lara Cadena who worked tirelessly to negotiate workable compromises and move these bills through the legislative process.

SB 114 would have provided a new model for providing energy efficiency services to low-income neighborhoods around the state. New Mexican families are suffering a disproportionate energy burden. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that low-income households have an energy burden that is three times that of other households. Nearly 20% of New Mexicans live in poverty, many in rural, low-income and minority communities across the state. The CEED Block Grant would have been an important step forward, complementing existing energy efficiency programs with a new stream of funds that would have reached more New Mexican households. The bill authorized a broad variety of energy efficiency improvements and directed funding to local governments working in partnership with their stakeholders. 

SB114 was an entirely new concept for New Mexico, and SWEEP and its allies will explore the possibility of proposing this legislation again in the 2021 session, where there will be more time to move the bill through the legislature.

SB2 and HB217 were mirror bills that would have created a personal income tax credit for the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle, provided a tax credit for the purchase and installation of a level II at home charging unit and provided an annual road fund payment by electric vehicles (to replace the gasoline tax that is currently paid into the road fund by gasoline vehicles). In a recent study commissioned by SWEEP and NRDC, it was estimated that a thriving EV market in NM would result in savings of $20 billion dollars over the next 30 years! This bill would have provided a much-needed jump start the electric vehicle market in New Mexico, bringing the enormous air quality and monetary savings benefits to all New Mexicans.

An EV tax credit, in various versions, has been sponsored by Representative Jim Trujillo every year since 2014. SWEEP and our allies will continue to push for the establishment of an EV tax credit in the 2021 legislative session.

Ms. Fiebelkorn has been active in the energy industry since 1994. She is the New Mexico Representative for SWEEP and is the President of eSolved, Inc., an environmental and business consulting firm.