Morning Word: Lawmakers Tell Governor to Consider Tax HikeMorning WordTuesday, July 26, 2016
More lawmakers, including some Republicans, are calling on Gov. Susana Martinez to call a special session to deal with a $650 million revenue shortfall that includes a $150 million deficit for the fiscal year that just ended and an estimated $500 million for the current fiscal year. The lawmakers suggest Martinez may have to consider raising taxes in an election year.
Film, TV Spending in NM Increased by $100 million
Hollywood producers continue to take advantage of the state’s tax incentives. Last year, they spent $387 million in New Mexico—an increase of almost $100 million—and this year is already off to a good start. “Wolverine 3” and “Granite Mountain” are filming here this summer, and Better Saul Call crews will film Season 3 starting in September.
Universities Partner Lockheed on Sandia Contract Proposal
New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech are jumping into help Lockheed Martin put together its bid to continue managing Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. The schools are offering to help commercialize research and provide graduates to staff the lab.
Bruce Donisthorpe, a well-regarded Republican operative and local pollster, died Sunday from an apparent heart attack. Before launching his own polling company, Donisthorpe served as a public information officer in the administration of Gov. Garrey Carruthers and later worked as a congressional staffer for Joe Skeen.
Officials in Hugo, Colorado say new tests of the town's well water show no traces of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Cannabis Limits Stall Dispensary Expansion
Duke Rodriguez, who already operates six medical cannabis dispensaries in New Mexico, tells SFR that he’s ready to open 13 new locations and hire 85 new employees but can’t until health department approve his plans. The regulators have been reluctant to give the go-ahead because their restrictive rules only allow producers to grow a maximum of 450 plants, which would make it difficult for Ultra Health to supply medication to all the new locations. Rodriguez wants the plant limit increased or eliminated altogether.
Democrats to Endorse Legal Weed
Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia are expected to add legalization of marijuana to the party's platform for the first time.
DNC Emails Undermine Party Unity
Last night, first lady Michele Obama, along with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, urged DNC delegates to unite behind Hillary Clinton for president. New Mexico super delegate US Rep. Ben Ray Luján hopes emails from the DNC leaked just before the party’s convention won't boost the divide between Sanders and Clinton supporters.
Those emails at the DNC should have never been written, they have no place in our discourse, and they are just wrong,” Luján, D-Santa Fe, said through a spokesman in a written statement. “Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a decision to put the country ahead of herself personally, and she made the right decision by stepping down. That was the right thing to do.”
Gila River Panel Told to “Clean Up Its Act”
A panel responsible for managing the Gila River water diversion programs violated the state’s Open Meetings Act at least two times this year when it conducted business behind closed doors and without public input, according to Assistant Attorney General Dylan Lange.
Allyson Siwik, executive director Gila Conservation Coalition, said in a statement that the entity “needs to clean up its act.”
“Citizens have a legal right to public access to its proceedings,” she said. “The entity’s decisions related to a Gila River diversion could saddle taxpayers and water users with hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs and harm New Mexico’s last wild river.”
Bregman’s Debut Falls Short
Alex Bregman had a chance for a grand slam in his major league debut last night in Houston, but the ball fell just short and the new third basemen went 0-4 at the plate as the Astros fell to the Yankees. He’ll get another shot tonight.