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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Big Bill's Matanza; He Will Bury $200 Mil Of Pork; Will Lawmakers Squeal? Plus: My Blog Bottom Lines & Some Music For Lawyers 

Big Bill announced an old fashioned matanza Tuesday, but the pork he is putting deep into the ground will not see the light of day, and instead of chewing on tasty chicharrones some lawmakers may be left squealing over their gubernatorial imposed diet. The Guv said $200 million of capital outlay projects will disappear with a stroke of his pen, a move his finance boss painstakingly explained was necessary to "balance the budget." But is this prudence, or punishment of a balky legislature?

A first glance, the Guv's announcement does not tell whose pork is being trimmed. The AP reporting: "Among the items potentially on the chopping block: $80 million for maintenance of buildings and infrastructure at colleges and universities; $20 million for an endowment fund for college and university faculty; almost $93 million in contingency appropriations, including $75 million for tribal water rights settlement; and some of the $531 million capital improvement projects financed with money from the state's main budget account."

A lot of that stuff is not going to cause any squealing, but where's that $93 million coming from? GOP Roswell State Rep. Dan Foley, an ardent foe of the Fourth Floor, has seen his share of pork consistently knocked out by the Guv. But this year it was a group of Senate Dems who held back the Big Guy and his proposal, among others, to hike the minimum wage. You wonder if some of their pet projects will fall under the knife.

Still, by holding off on exactly where the scalpel will cut, one supposes there is a bit of wiggle room for creating some goodwill essential for any special session that is called to tackle the bills of Bill that were left on the shelf. But what would be the point? The millions the Guv is vetoing adds up to more than all the capital outlay approved in some previous sessions signaling just how well-off financially we are. Isn't that draining any urgency for a special? Maybe like dogs, it's best to let sleeping pigs lie.

MY BOTTOM LINES


A foot note to our Tuesday report on the vote buying allegations in the Espanola city election. Attorney General Madrid says she is sending investigators to the area to check out the reports. Voters there were allegedly given beer, wood and money in exchange for voting for a mayoral candidate. How can the investigators compete with that booty?....Former ABQ newsman Dan Wade, now in North Carolina, checks in with the news that ABQ Rep. Wilson will make another appearance on the Bill Maher show on HBO. She will appear at 9 p.m. Friday...

Dem national party leader Howard Dean will be in ABQ Thursday. It will be his first NM appearance as national chair and more info is available from the party...The R's are also bringing in a heavyweight fundraiser. I will have more on that tomorrow.

MUSIC FOR LAWYERS (AND OTHER HOURLY BILLERS)


Here's a theme song for all of you out there in La Politca who bill your clients by the hour. Thanks to ABQ real estate agent Seth Heath for the forward. If you don't like it, bill him.

Thanks for dropping by today. E-mail your news and comments. If it's about New Mexico politics, we want to know.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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