Score one in the win column for our graduate students. Senate Bill 11, the State Graduate Tax Credit, earned a "do pass" in Senate Corporations this afternoon, though by a narrow one-vote margin.

The bill would give tax credits to New Mexico businesses who hire NM graduates with masters or Ph.D. degrees in the STEHM fields. Proponents argue that it will keep our graduates in state and help reverse the brain drain. Opponents apparently don't like this particular approach.

SB11 next goes to Senate Finance, where today challenges facing the pension funds were aired. The committee did not debate specific legislation, but did hear arguments for and against current proposals for solvency. LFC analysts told the committee that the increased employee contributions called for in the ERB stakeholder proposal might affect recruitment while DFA analysts called for more benefit reductions. The Senate version of the ERB solvency proposal will first be heard in Senate Education.

Susan McKinsey, Office of Government and Community Relations