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GOP calls out MLG for unfair COVID-19 relief plans

Santa Fe — Today, the House Republican Leadership sent a letter to the Governor urging her to end her administration’s announced plan of reducing needed federal CARES Act dollars to any local governments who are not obeying her various public health orders.   According to a report last week by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Lujan Grisham administration is creating a financial assistance application process so local governments — funded through federal CARES Act dollars— can receive reimbursement for COVID-19 related expenses.  However, the granting of these needed federal dollars will be reduced for any municipality or county who has refused to enforce the Governor’s public health edicts.

“For the Governor to withhold needed federal dollars to New Mexico’s local governments simply to be vindictive in regards to her often arbitrary public health orders is unacceptable,” said House Republican Leader James G. Townsend (Artesia).  “She has no authority either under state laws or federal guidelines to punish local governments in this manner and, if she continues to go in this direction, I encourage all affected local governments to file lawsuits to ensure they receive the full reimbursement their taxpayers and communities deserve.”

The Governor has come under increasing public scrutiny as she defends the administration’s blanket decision making process, including facing numerous lawsuits. Most of Governor Lujan Grisham’s decisions have affected the entire state, however her recent statements indicate that in terms of distributing federal CARES Act funds, obedience is a key factor for COVID-19 stimulus relief. 

“Throughout the entire pandemic, the Governor’s approach to fighting COVID-19 has been based on exceeding her authority under the law and intimidating small businesses and local communities to comply with her orders,” said House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (Farmington). “Rather than trying to build consensus and find bipartisan support for the best ways to combat the virus, the Governor has preferred threats, excessive fines, and utilizing the State Police to enforce questionable limitations on small businesses’ ability to survive.  It is not surprising that the Governor now wants to exceed her authority and punish local governments for trying to do what’s best for their communities.”