"I can assure you, by 2012 we will have to do something drastic," said Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela, D-Santa Fe, the committee chairman.

Jordan said lawmakers should look at rolling back some tax cuts that were enacted during the past six years, including capital gains reductions that disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers.

"The choice is simply either we can preserve tax cuts for the wealthy or we can preserve education and health care," said Jordan.

A labor union representing government workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is lobbying lawmakers to look at tax proposals rather than furloughing or laying off public employees.

The union and Jordan's organization, which advocates for programs that help children and lower income New Mexicans, suggest that lawmakers consider several tax proposals, including revamping how multistate corporations pay income taxes, higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and a surcharge on upper-income taxpayers such as those earning more than $150,000 a year.

Gov. Bill Richardson objects to repealing personal income tax cuts enacted in 2003. Lowering the state's tax rates has helped in recruiting businesses with high-paying jobs, according to the governor.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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