Our menu of legislative issues for 2016
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Serving members and the people of New Mexico since 1946
Locations – 3,317 (2014)
Employees – 87,000 or 11% of employment in the state.
Projected job growth by 2024 of 96,700.
2015 Industry Sales (as forecast) – $3.3 billion NM Gross Receipts Tax – $160 million
National Locations – 1 Million
Employees –14 Million
2014 Industry Sales (as forecast) – $709.2 billion
Liquor or Soft Drink Excise Taxes (Oppose)
On behalf of its membership, NMRA will oppose liquor or soft drink excise taxes. These are taxes placed on liquor or soft drinks at the manufacturer or wholesale level, which in essence constitute hidden fees on New Mexicans that are regressive and create pyramiding taxation. New Mexicans already pay among the highest liquor taxes in the nation.
Local Option Liquor Tax Increase (Oppose)
NMRA opposes legislation that would allow counties to impose additional liquor taxes if supported by a local option election. The liquor excise tax already collected is among the highest tax of its kind in the nation. New Mexico counties receive a generous portion of the funds collected from the state liquor excise tax.
Liquor Tax Percentage Allocation Increase (Support)
NMRA supported the liquor excise tax increase in 1994 to be used for DWI prevention and treatment programs. Currently only 34.57% of the liquor excise tax presently being collected is going to prevention and treatment programs. We support additional allocations from this fund going to these programs. We do not support additional taxes.
All entrees are served with a healthy portion of New Mexico Restaurant Association initiatives and legislative issues.
Statewide Preemption on Employment Law (Support)
NMRA supports legislation to keep authority for employment practices at the state or federal level.
Businesses are already subject to state and federal employment laws and audits. Municipalities creating employment laws would have to create additional enforcement and auditing capabilities thus creating an additional burden on businesses and employees. It makes sense to have this authority vested with the state or federal government. This also maintains a level playing field across political subdivisions and removes confusion for businesses operating in multiple locations around the state.
Increased Funding for Tourism Advertising (Support)
We support investing in tourism marketing to bring in new dollars, to create new jobs and to showcase our beautiful state. The New Mexico Tourism Department has clearly demonstrated that money spent on marketing New Mexico outside the state has huge benefits for the state’s economy. For every $1 spent in tourism advertising, we see $3 in state and local taxes and over $30 spent in local economies. 3,000 New jobs were created in the leisure and hospitality sector.
ProStart – Hospitality Education in Public Schools (Support)
NMRA supports additional funding to administer high school hospitality education programs. This training program gives students interested in a career in the hospitality industry the basic skills necessary to excel in management careers in the industry, and provides professional development opportunities for teachers.
State Unemployment Insurance Tax (SUTA) (Support Lower Rates)
With the onset of the recession, New Mexico’s Unemployment Fund became over-stressed and close to insolvent. NMRA supported efforts in the past to improve solvency. Some unintended consequences of past legislation has seen an unfair burden placed on employers. These employers, who have had to use the unemployment system are being unfairly targeted and taxed, mostly having to do with declines in the economy. NMRA supports efforts that will bring the UI fund into solvency while being fair to all concerned.
Workers Compensation Changes
NMRA supports changes that maintain the proper checks and balances in the Workers Compensation System and opposes any effort to erode the checks and balances.
NMRA is concerned with the deterioration of the checks and balances in the Worker’s Compensation system. These checks and balances have made the system balanced and consistent. Over the years, court cases have eliminated or weakened the safeguards against fraud and abuse that were built into the statutory reform in 1989-90. The trial lawyers have vowed to destroy the 1990 reform and to return to the old tort system, that is, more lawyer involvement and ever-increasing costs in the system. If the Worker’s Compensation system falls apart, costs will skyrocket again.
Minimum Wage Survey Results
We asked our members the following Survey Question:
If you experienced a recent minimum wage increase in your jurisdiction (city, county) what effect did the increase have on your business? This is one of our major legislative issues 2015. Here’s the results..
70% had to Increase menu prices.
34% had to Reduce benefits paid to employees
83% had to Reduce the number of employee hours
69% had to Postpone hiring
New Mexico has 7 different minimum wage rates (Federal, State, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and Las Cruces) with much confusion surrounding the rates, the date the CPI increases go into effect, which rate applies to which businesses, what the tipped rate is in each jurisdiction and if the ordinance is silent on a particular detail who does the enforcement.
Hotel & Restaurant Remodel Tax Incentive (Support)
The growth and vibrancy of the New Mexico hospitality and tourism industries are critical to our long-term economic health. Modernization and improvements of physical restaurant and hotel assets drive economic growth, create jobs, spur neighborhood revitalization and enhance the overall community experience for residents and guests. The private sector is eager to renovate and modernize, but in the current economic environment, business-owners are being forced to carefully prioritize spending. The goal of the restaurant renovation tax credit is to stimulate greater investment in depressed restaurants and hotels by incentivizing businesses to invest in remodels, improvements and efficiencies.
The HRR income tax credit incentive is an incentive program that encourages local investment in hotel and restaurant renovations within reasonable limitations and parameters. Revenue neutral for the state, the program captures a portion of new tax dollars generated by a project and refunds a portion, 50%, of the newly generated sales taxes back to the owner to offset up to 20% of cost of the capital investment and overall approved project costs. Payments are made annually and only after the new sales tax collections have been verified by the State. Approved projects are not eligible for the first payment until the approved project is complete.
Small Business Owners, Corporations or other entities that own and operate a hotel or restaurant and are planning a substantial renovation in New Mexico are eligible.
Minimum Wage (Reasonable)
Because restaurants provide many first job opportunities (one in three American’s get their first job in restaurants), our industry is hardest hit when minimum wages increase. Therefore we advocate for reasonable increases that will not place jobs and businesses in jeopardy. Minimum wage increases are especially difficult for small businesses to absorb. We ask that the legislature keep this in mind when considering an increase.
Right to Work (Support)
Just like membership in a business organization, organized labor union membership should be voluntary and no employee should be required to join a union as a condition of employment, which subjects them to full union dues and to union rules and fines.
Increase in Cash Wage for Commissioned Employees (Oppose)
Restaurant servers (waiters and waitresses) are the highest paid employees in a restaurant, averaging from $12 to $25 per hour. Most of the time, servers average higher wages per hour than restaurant managers and owners. Servers are “commissioned salespeople” for restaurants, earning their salary through the percentage of the sales they generate for the restaurant.
The cash wage paid by the employer is meant to supplement the gratuities made by the salespeople (servers). Like any commissioned salesperson, the more a server sells, and the better they deliver service to the customer, the more they make in commissions/tips.
Data Breaches (Support)
60% of Small Businesses who suffer a data breach are out of business within six months. NMRA supports protecting our customers private and financial information, however we feel any legislation pertaining to data breaches must clearly state that the definition of a merchant service provider is the company that acts as the financial institution, that deposits funds into the merchant’s bank account and who maintains the merchant account with the credit card companies.
Try tasty morsels without the sugar coating.
Did you know?
- One-half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives and one out of three adults got their first job experience in a
- 80% of restaurant owners said their first job in the restaurant industry was an entry-level
- 59% of first-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and service workers in 2012 were women, 14% were black or African-American, and 17% were of Hispanic
- Restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry.
- The number of black or African-American-owned restaurant businesses jumped 188% between 1997 and 2007 compared to a 36% increase for all restaurant
- The number of Hispanic-owned restaurant businesses increased 80% between 1997 and 2007, while the number of Asian-owned restaurant businesses grew 60%.