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Morning Word: SF Pay Raise Plan Missing From Budget

March 29, 2017, 7:30 am

SF Budget Proposal is Lean on Raises
Very lean. Mayor Javier Gonzales proposed 5 percent pay hikes for city workers during his State of the City address, but the budget handed to the City Council by the administration focuses instead on funding more efficient government. Next year's proposed spending doesn't actually include raises for city employees, though it does provide some suggestions as to how the city council might pay for them. 

Extra Tobacco Cash Likely to Vanish
Not really in a puff of smoke, but after a judge ruled that Big Tobacco has been shortchanging New Mexico's payments from a decades-old settlement agreement, it seems likely the extra $14.5 million the state is owed will get siphoned off by a state government that's desperate for cash. The settlement money is supposed to pay for tobacco-cessation programs and other health-related costs, but the Legislature has long been spending it elsewhere in the annual budget.

Do It Again
The upcoming legislative special session—which so far has only been promised by the governor and not actually scheduled by her—may include another whack at reforming New Mexico's capital outlay system. The state's method of paying for infrastructure projects is byzantine and inefficient, leaving almost a billion dollars earmarked but unspent.

PNM Says Trump's Climate Rule Rollback Won't Impact Four Corners Deal
While President Trump is busy de-Obamaing the EPA and whatever else he can get his normal-sized hands on, the haze-limiting deal between New Mexico's largest electricity provider and state and federal regulators is still on. A spokesman says it will take some time to see how Trump's new rules impact the industry. That means two units at the San Juan Generating Station will be shuttered by the end of the year.

Mutual Fund Magnate's Family Offers $10M Challenge to Las Vegas School
The family of Shelby Davis, who made his fortune managing mutual funds, has promised $10 million to the United World College in Las Vegas. The boarding school, which occupies the Montezuma Castle outside of town, has to raise $2 million a year for five years to leverage the money promised by Davis' family. It's quite the motivational tool.

Wilson's Air Force Hearing Takes Off Tomorrow
Former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson will endure a confirmation hearing Thursday after being nominated by the president for Secretary of the Air Force. Wilson, who represented New Mexico's 1st Congressional District for years, is now a university president in South Dakota. She'll have to unload a bunch of defense-contractor stock if she's confirmed for the post.

A Good Spring for Silvery Minnows
If you haven't taken a gander at the Rio Grande lately, there's a lot of water in it. A reasonable winter and a warm March combined to send millions of gallons churning their muddy way toward Mexico. That's good news for the protected Rio Grande silvery minnow. The tiny fish spawns in conditions like these. It also means water managers on the river will have an easier time managing flows to protect the fish population. 

UNM Presidential Search Slows
Well, that didn't take long. Just a day after word surfaced that University of New Mexico regents wanted to get presidential finalists on campus before school let out, it now appears the beleaguered board can't get the job done until the fall. Maybe there should be a three-point shooting contest for the finalists; it's an open question whether the men's basketball team will have any players left by then.

Thanks for reading! The Word has some season tickets we could let go for a decent price. They're right behind the bench where the players s̶i̶t̶ used to sit.

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