Well, it is that time of year again when Balloon Fiesta is upon us and fall is in the air. This year is even more special because New Mexico will sponsor a live, in-person Balloon Fiesta event. Exciting to see us beginning to make progress in reopening our state for business.
I am looking forward to the next two years as your NMBA President and want to thank Jason Wyatt again for his tenure these past two years. I know the past two years have been extremely challenging for all of us, especially as bankers, trying to navigate all the federal and state programs designed to help businesses keep their doors open. Jason, you were amazing at helping all the state’s bankers stay focused and heard.
Most recently, an issue related to the IRS has arisen regarding collecting customer banking transaction data. The country’s current administration, working closely with the Department of Treasury, is looking for ways to increase our taxes without stating they are increasing our taxes. This “collecting of banking data” would be for all customers who transact at least $600 of activity. This means roughly every person in America who has a bank account would be subject to this rule, and banks would be responsible for carrying the burden of reporting this information to the IRS. What this really means, once again, is the increase in regulation and cost of compliance will be carried by the institutions who are already breaking under the regulatory burden that has been added to our industry in the past two decades. Wow. More information will follow, and please join us in stopping this ridiculous overreach.
Another hot topic in 2021 is the legalization of cannabis in New Mexico for adult use. During the 60-day session this year, the legislature approved the legalization of cannabis, with retail sales to begin no later than April 2022. In July, new laws went into effect related to personal use and consumption and what legally a person can carry without fear of criminal prosecution. This new law also opens many new questions regarding employee drug testing, HR issues related to a legalized substance, banking opportunities, tax revenues, job creation, and many other potential problems. Congress has once again passed the SAFE act to help financial intuitions receive fair regulatory treatment if they decide to bank this industry. We have seen the SAFE act pass the House many times, only to stall in the Senate. Maybe this time will be different; however, don’t count on it.
In closing, I am excited and honored to work with all of you and the NMBA team for my term. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas and questions, and commit to doing all I can to promote New Mexico Banking. See you all soon and stay frosty.