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Morning Word: Not-So-Special Session

May 31, 2017, 7:30 am

Special session ends with a budget and little else
Lawmakers met for about half an hour yesterday as they put a formal end to the 2017 special session. They passed a budget that's substantially similar to the one approved by the Legislature and line-item vetoed by the governor in the regular legislative session. The Legislature also approved a plan to patch budget holes by manipulating the state's debt. But there are no long-term fixes and the state's reserves are almost non-existent: just $24 million, or 0.4 percent of the budget. A credit downgrade could be ahead. 

Slow your tax rolls
Santa Fe County agreed to put off decisions on two proposed gross receipts tax increases. County commissioners grudgingly made the decision at last night's meeting, citing the city of Santa Fe's concern that the tax hike, which would affect things bought both in and out of Santa Fe, was coming just weeks before a scheduled meeting of the City Council and County Commission. The taxes would add a bit less than 19 cents to every $100 purchase.

Cut them! Burn him!
A bunch of Siberian elm trees hit the dust yesterday as the city made way for a $750,000 foot bridge that will largely serve the single-day Zozobra event. It's not as though Siberian elms are much loved around here, but they do have leaves and leaves mean shade. The Kiwanis Club kicked in 80 grand for the bridge.

Useless insurance
That's how attorney Victor Marshall describes New Mexico's system of title insurance. He says it paid out less than a penny in claims for every dollar insurers took in during 2015. He's suing, saying the system improperly fixes prices and prevents competition. Two families brought the suit, but Marshall wants the court to let him make it a class action.

Complaint says APD lied about high-profile murder case
A complaint filed with Albuquerque's Civilian Police Oversight Agency says that the city's police department told blatantly different and untrue stories about the Victoria Martens murder. One version made the department look as though it had investigated previous complaints involving the little girl. It had not.

Las Cruces teen group homes close
There are dwindling resources for troubled teens in the state's second-largest city. Two group homes that have been around as a short-term fix for teens who need a leg up have closed. It's yet another kick in the gut for a mental health system that's struggling to find money to serve a state with a problem.

¡YouthWorks!
The Santa Fe nonprofit took it on the chin a little when the local chapter of the League of Women Voters suggested $1.2 million in public economic development money given to the group by the city of Santa Fe over the past eight years might be a bit much. SFR looked at what the group does, who it serves and why it says it's doing a job few others can.

¡Summer!
SFR's annual Summer Guide is out. You can find it inside this week's paper on newsstands. It's glossy and shiny and really useful. Grab one or bookmark our digital version and dig in when you're looking for something to do.

Thanks for reading! The Word is surprisingly bad at remembering all the resources there are within, more or less, an arm's reach at the office. What is that? Is that a condition? 

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