April 18, 2014

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Morning Word, 04-05-13

Martinez signs omnibus tax bill

April 5, 2013, 8:00 am
By Matthew Reichbach
The big news of the day was Gov. Susana Martinez signing the omnibus tax bill -- and she did it on a Thursday, which shows that she wasn't trying to bury the news, as would be the case for a Friday signing or veto. As New Mexico Telegram wrote, the bill includes a big corporate income tax reduction as well as a provision that may force municipal and county governments to raise taxes.

Martinez signed the bill in front of media in Albuquerque and hailed it a job creation bill.

Critics said the bill will be costly to the state of New Mexico and is too favorable to corporations while leaving working families behind.

The tax package won't necessarily have a huge effect on the 2014 elections; a lot of the provisions that worry people won't kick in until after those elections when Martinez is up for reelection.

On to the Word:
  • Albuquerque city councilor Michael Cook resigned after being arrested for an alleged DWI.
  • Democratic congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham voiced nuanced support for the tax package signed by Martinez.
    She said she is aware of fears in some quarters that the legislation benefits corporations while further burdening taxpayers, but explained, “I can be cautiously optimistic.”
  • Lujan Grisham appeared on the KUNM Call-In Show on Thursday.
  • Did you catch the Weekly Word podcast? In this week's edition, the Santa Fe Reporter and NM Telegram talked about combined reporting (which is in the omnibus tax bill), the Albuquerque mayoral race and the formation of a political non-profit that may fall afoul of rules that forbid partisan politicking.
  • Milan Simonich finds some hypocrisy among Republicans in where long lines matter.
    For all their complaining and litigating about what happened in Rio Rancho, Republicans have been quiet about Election Night chaos that occurred in the border town of Chaparral.

    Republicans on the Otero County board of commissioners declined to allocate money for an early voting center in Chaparral. This meant voters from Chaparral had to travel about 80 miles one way to Alamogordo if they wanted to vote early.
  • A conservative non-profit called GOAL Advocacy is airing radio and TV ads opposing the listing of the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species.
  • V.B. Price on the Violence Against Women Act at his site New Mexico Mercury.
    In 21st century America culture, discrimination against women, and the violence that comes with it – both brutal and subtle – is an anathema to all people of conscience and good will. Just as homophobia and racism are intolerable evils, America’s historic permissiveness toward violence against women is a sociopathic character flaw that must be addressed by legal and social sanctions.

    Contrary to the old saw that “you can’t legislate morality,” a society can create humane laws that reflect the best values of its culture, laws that stimulate changes in behavior that in turn could lead to a genuine change of heart.
    Be sure to read the whole thing.

    I hope to one day be as good a writer as Price.
  • U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich toured New Mexico Highlands University and water facilities in Las Vegas as part of his tour around the state.
  • KUNM reports on the debate over shipping more nuclear waste to WIPP.
  • The Carlsbad schools superintendent is in some trouble.
    A Notice of Contemplated Action, given to Perkowski by the PED on March 29, alleges the superintendent mishandled personnel issues and misused district funds. The documents outline 24 instances constituting "sufficient evidence to justify the PED in restricting, suspending or revoking (Perkowski's) educator licensure and imposing such other conditions and penalties as may be authorized by law."

    The majority of the accusations deal with inappropriate reimbursement costs - including a personal vacation to Nicaragua, two trips to New Orleans and a trip to Boston for a convention.
  • A couple of hundred protesters gathered to call for the labeling of genetically modified organisms, the Weekly Alibi reports.
    “There are no long-term studies proving that genetically engineered foods are safe for human consumption or for the environment and yet the Federal Drug Administration still doesn’t require labeling. However at the heart of the issue is consumers deserve the right to know what we are eating and what we are feeding our families.”

    Genetically engineered crops are created by transferring genetic material from one organism into another to create specific traits, such as resistance to treatment with herbicides… or to make a plant produce its own pesticides to repel insects.
  • An explosive was found at a popular tourist spot in New Mexico.
    Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said the state police bomb squad was called out to the Blue Hole on Thursday after a visitor noticed a suspicious device in the fresh-water spring.

    The park was evacuated, and the bomb squad determined that the device was in fact an explosive.
  • Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill to expand enforcement on tattoo parlors.
    Gov. Susana Martinez signed legislation into law on Thursday allowing a state licensing board to issue orders immediately closing tattoo and body piercing studios as well as barber shops and hair salons for violations, including having unsanitary conditions that endanger customers.

    The state board also can impose greater fines on unlicensed tattoo parlors.
  • Martinez signed legislation that requires more disclosure for campaign finances for school board elections in New Mexico's five largest school districts.
  • The Taos News has been covering the news on a controversial contract involving the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant. And here is the latest:
    Eighth Judicial District Judge Sarah Backus has signed a written order nullifying a deed and other documents filed by the Arroyo Hondo Land Grant Board in October 2010.

    While the language in Backus’ order would likely be enough for title insurance companies to resume issuing policies in the grant, real estate experts say the cloud won’t disappear for good until the deadline for an appeal passes and it’s clear Backus’ ruling will stand.
  • The Rio Grande Sun has a report on the rate hearing for a potential increase in rates from the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative.
  • The town of Taos and the county of Taos may share a planner soon, the Taos News reports.
  • An Alamogordo native (and genius) invented a rotisserie machine for your grill based on machines used for roasting green chile.
  • Former NM Gov. Bill Richardson says it would be "suicidal" for North Korea to attack the United States. Which is very likely true; North Korea's main method of negotiating is sabre-rattling.
  • More news from the Raton Range on the shakeup in the Raton city government:
    The city commission on Monday approved an agreement — which as of Thursday morning had not been put in written form — with McGowen in which he will work as interim city manager for a total of $1 in salary through June. If the commission wishes him to continue in the position beyond that time, new negotiations will take place then, according to Mayor Bobby Ledoux.

    Ledoux said the commission wanted to pay more, but McGowen, a former Raton schools superintendent, refused to accept anything but the $1 as he begins to fill the position from which Pete Kampfer resigned last month.
    The city clerk/treasurer said she would step down in a couple of months.


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