HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS RELEASE
Behavioral health counselors, therapists, social workers, and pharmacists practicing in underserved communities would be eligible for $5,000 tax credit
A bill to include more categories of health care workers, specifically those working in mental and behavioral health, in the state’s Rural Health Practitioner Tax Credit program passed the House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously Wednesday.
Sponsored by Representative Miguel Garcia (D-Albuquerque), HB 45 seeks to attract and retain more practitioners in rural communities by making behavioral health counselors, therapists, social workers, and pharmacists practicing in underserved communities eligible for the Rural Health Practitioner Tax Credit which currently applies to physicians and nurse practitioners. Across New Mexico’s rural communities, there is a severe shortage of mental and behavioral health providers. In other states, similar tax credits have proven to be an effective measure to attract and retain such practitioners. Under HB 45, these new categories of practitioners would be eligible for a $5,000 tax credit.
“A behavioral health therapist who can treat a sexually abused child, or a social worker who can coordinate therapies for a disabled veteran are are just as valuable in a rural community as a surgeon. And yet, we have a severe shortages for social workers and behavioral health practitioners in these communities,” said Rep. Garcia. “It’s time our policies reflect that reality. By making social workers and behavioral health practitioners eligible for the same incentives under the Rural Health Care Practitioner Tax Credit Act as we have for others, we can attract more providers and take a serious step to rounding out health services in New Mexico’s rural communities.”
Having passed its first committee, HB 45 will now be heard in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. HB 104, a complimentary bill sponsored by Rep. Anthony Allison, will also be introduced to the House Health and Human Services Committee. HB 104 would make registered nurses and midwives working in rural communities eligible for a $3,000 tax credit.
Members of the public can access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the New Mexico Legislature website on the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment to committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.