AG's push for higher mileage reimbursement rate stalls

By Chris Rizo | Aug 13, 2008

Gary King (D)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline)- New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's call for an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate for state employees won't likely be considered until next year if at all, a spokesman told Legal Newsline on Wednesday.

In a letter last month to Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson and Secretary of Finance and Administration Katherine Miller, the attorney general recommended that legislation be introduced to increase the statutory reimbursement rate from its current 32 cents per mile rate.

The governor's office is considering the idea, King spokesman Phil Sisneros said Wednesday.

Sisneros said it "doesn't appear" the idea will be on lawmakers' agenda during their upcoming special session. He said a proposal might be introduced in January, when legislators convene their regular session, but even that is "unclear," he added.

"They are 'looking at the idea' was the last word we heard from them," Sisneros said.

The current mileage rate, which has been in effect since 2003, is inadequate given the recent rise in retail fuel prices, King said in his letter.

"This rate is supposed to reimburse government employees for both the cost of fuel and the cost of wear and tear on their vehicles," King wrote. "However, in light of increasing fuel expenses, the current rate is inadequate to reimburse government employees.

King noted that the U.S. government recently augmented the federal mileage reimbursement rate to 50.5 cents per mile beginning March 19, 2008.

He has said the state ought to pay its workers at the same rate the federal government reimburses its employees for mileage, Sisneros said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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