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Morning Word: Now We Wait

May 26, 2017, 7:30 am

Lawmakers await governor's action
The state Legislature sent four bills to the governor before recessing for the holiday weekend. They include a budget bill that is nearly identical to the one from which she vetoed $744 million in higher education funding and the budget for the Legislature itself. They also approved a plan to use one-time money to patch part of a roughly $100 million budget hole next year. The governor actually said she was pleased with some of the work, though she promised to veto any tax increases—which the other two bills address. She has until Monday to act on the legislation. Lawmakers come back Tuesday to see what's left to be done. 

Tax reform bill dies
It at least got a hearing, but Rep. Jason Harper's 430-page gross receipts tax reform bill was doomed from the start, as Speaker of the House Brian Egolf said the measure arrived too late for lawmakers to give it a thorough once-over. A House committee tabled it yesterday. Harper's plan would have lowered the tax consumers pay on everyday purchases, but it also would have increased the tax on health insurance premiums and on buying a car. The budget passed by lawmakers includes $400,000 to study Harper's plan.

Attorney General investigates Krebs, UNM golf junket
There's more blowback for the University of New Mexico's Athletics Department after a KRQE investigation found department head Paul Krebs and his underlings took a cushy fundraising trip to golf in Scotland—and didn't disclose they used $24,000 in taxpayer money to woo private executives. The attorney general is now investigating the possibility that spending violates state law. Let us know if you see Krebs on the golf course this weekend.

Phoenix flight may wean itself from subsidies
The public-private Northern New Mexico Air Alliance says new jet service by American Airlines from Phoenix to Santa Fe is likely to be profitable enough for the airline to not need make-good payments promised by the group. The flight started in December and winter passenger loads lagged, but spring numbers are looking up. The Phoenix flight is an important link to the west, since Santa Fe lost its non-stop flight to Los Angeles. 

Wrong guy
Phillip Armijo is suing the city of Santa Fe after police arrested him and tossed him in jail on an outstanding warrant. Armijo knew then what police later learned: The warrant was for his brother, John, who died in 2013.

Oh, bologna
Border Patrol agents seized 14 rolls of Mexican bologna from a driver who passed through an initial checkpoint without admitting the meaty treat was tucked under his back seat, then thought better and declared the stash. Full of drugs? Stripped-down guns? Nope. Bologna from Mexico is banned because of the potential introduce disease into the US pork market. Yum.

Water at the Butte
Too much water at Elephant Butte Reservoir hasn't been much of a problem in the past few years. It won't this year, either, but the lake is 14 feet above where it was last year. Some RV owners who thought they'd grab the best beach spot by parking early learned that the hard way. It's good news for boating, though. And, of course, everyone who likes water—which is everyone.

Get out!
It's going to be a pretty nice holiday weekend. Warmer at the beginning with temperatures falling into next week. There's a chance of storms more or less statewide, so keep an eye on the sky.

Thanks for reading! The Word hopes you're safe this weekend. "Let's pull all of us behind this boat" is usually not a good idea.

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