Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe denounced plans in the state to reinstate sales tax on groceries in New Mexico. In a statement, Wester said that the proposed tax hike unduly burdens the poor and working people. "Our neighbors are hungry!" he said. "At this time as we prepare for Christmas, countless nonprofits and civic organizations work to fill food baskets, but some legislators want to take food out of another basket, the grocery basket, with their proposed food tax."
At interim hearings at New Mexico's legislature, the reinstatement of the food tax has been discussed even though it has not yet been formally introduced. It may constitute a part of a comprehensive tax proposal, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Calling on the people to oppose the tax, Wester said in his statement, "This 'tortilla tax,' as many have labeled it, only shifts the burden onto the poor and working families." He added, "What makes this idea even more obscene is that New Mexico ranks second highest in the nation for children living in hunger and highest for children living in poverty."
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, has affirmed that she will veto efforts to increase taxes on families.
In 2010, then-Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, vetoed a move to reinstate the food tax that had been repealed in 2004. Only Hawaii, Idaho, KIansas, MIssissippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia tax groceries. In Idaho, the state income tax law provides a $20 per person credit to offset grocery taxes, while Kansas offers limited tax refunds for the disabled, elderly, and low-income.