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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 18, 2003

Wilson disguises vote that left thousands of families without relief

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R, NM, 1st CD) voted to support a bill providing tax credits for families with incomes between $10,000 and $150,000. This bill was to supplement an existing law providing tax credits for families with incomes between $27,000 and $110,000. The bill Wilson supported expanded coverage to the lowest income earners, those between $10,000 and $27,000, but it also include controversial tax credits for upper income families, those with incomes between $110,000 to $150,000.

"On its face such a bill would seem like a great thing for New Mexicans," said Travis Green, spokesman for New Mexicans for Political Accountability. "However, the bill had a number of problems, not the least of which was the tax credits for families with incomes between $110,000 and $150,000 was unfunded." This meant that there was no provision in the budget bill to support that portion of the tax credits. "Not only is this irresponsible fiscal management, but it is deception at its very worst," said Green. By voting for this bill, Wilson could come back to New Mexico touting that she supported tax credits for the poor, knowing full well that 99% of the bill was unfunded ($78 of $80 billion in tax credits), and wouldn't make it through conference committee. Even worse, Wilson voted for it knowing that a good alternative was available.

A similar bill garnering bipartisan support in the Senate, and praised by both Senator Pete Domenici (R, NM) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, NM), focused on tax credits for families with incomes between $10,000 and $27,000, leaving off the highest categories of wage earners. The Senate bill was both fully funded, and would have helped scores of New Mexico families in the first Congressional District. Rather, than do what was right for New Mexico and what was right for families in her district, Wilson rejected the Senate bill, and did what was most politically expedient for her.

Pete Domenici advocated for the Senate version that was rejected by Wilson. "I support this bill because it will bring more benefits to New Mexico. The tax credit that we already passed will benefit more than 160,000 households, and the measure we passed today could add another 100,000 to that total," Domenici said. "These tax credits are aimed at putting more money into the pockets of those who are working hard to raise their children. The expanded program will give lower-income families, who don't generally have federal income tax liability, an opportunity to benefit from this program."

Wilson voted to stop the Senate legislation despite pleas from Republicans who said her vote would hurt low-income families, "which is especially hurtful to New Mexico's first congressional district" said Green. Republican Senators, the White House, and moderate House Republicans said that Wilson's vote would kill the family support package.

"Wilson's vote was a slap in the face of her constituents," said Green. "Her bill was unnecessary, fiscally irresponsible, and was contrary to the interests of this state."

MEDIA CONTACT:
Travis Green - green@wilsonwatch.org

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