Senate Bill 368 and House Bill 369 — sponsored by Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, and Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, respectively — have been seen by six committees.
The bills propose reducing gross receipts, governmental gross receipts and compensating tax rates statewide to 2.125 percent. A gross receipts tax is similar to sales tax but is charged to the seller rather than the buyer. The compensating tax is used to protect in-state businesses from competition from out-of-state.
The end of the 2013 legislative session is Saturday, leaving little time to take either bill to the floor.
Taylor and Sharer intended for the bills to generate discussion rather than lead to a policy decision.
"Things are progressing well," Taylor said. "This was really designed as an informational piece. There's a lot of interest."
Feedback from committee evaluations has provided him with input on how to fine tune his bill, he said.
"When I talk about (the bill) as informational, it goes both ways," Taylor said.
A report by the Legislative Finance Committee recommended repealing the existing tax codes and rewriting them rather than making the amendments suggested in the bills to avoid inconsistencies.
The bills have also attracted the attention of some academic and public policy research groups.
"I think that the New Mexico tax system really needs to be reformed in a fundamental way," said Lee Reynis, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico.
Over the years, many segments of the tax base, such as food and medicine, have been exempted or otherwise excluded from taxation, she said.
"You want to tax broadly and tax low," Reynis said. "You want to do that in a way that's not going to distort economic activity, that's fair and equitable."
While Reynis declined to comment on the bills' specifics, she said the basic idea to reform the state's tax code is a necessary public discussion.
"We need to move toward more simplicity," she said. "I think we probably need to have another Blue Ribbon Tax Committee. As we made changes (to the tax codes) we ended up with a system that gave some (groups) unfair advantages."
Greg Yee may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT