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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Job Seeker Sends His "Dear John" Letter From Susana, Plus: Tourism Industry Girds For Battle, And: Bingaman Goes All In; Another "No" Vote On Tax Deal 

One of our readers says the transition office of Gov-elect Martinez is letting down lightly the many unsuccessful job applicants. At least that's how he interpreted this form letter he received in response to his resume drop:

Dear...We wish to thank you for applying to serve the people of New Mexico. Governor-elect Susana Martinez is looking for applicants that fill a wide array of qualifications, exemplify the highest ethical standards and will always put the people of New Mexico first.

Your resume will be reviewed and compared to the current needs of the Administration. Should your qualifications match those needed for a current position, we will contact you to arrange an interview.

Thank you again for your interest.

Sincerely,
Ryan Cangiolosi
Personnel Director
Governor-elect Martinez Transition Office

Well, not exactly a "Dear John" letter as even those who eventually get interviewed get this letter.

THE EXEMPTS

You recall during the recent Guv campaign all the venting over the number of political appointees that Big Bill put in place. Well, not so much now. The latest figures from the Legislative Finance Committee show about 375 exempt employees on the state payroll, down from a peak of 511 in 2009. Granted, at least 50 of those who were once "exempt," meaning they could be fired at anytime, have found shelter in classified positions where they get job security after serving for a year.

How many of the 375 exempts will lose their jobs when Susana takes power? We'd guess--but not bet--that she will keep at least 275 0f them. After all, she's going to need eyes and ears planted in the bureaucracy just like any other Governor.

TOURISM BATTLE

The Santa Fe budget cutters may think they have an easy target for cost savings when it comes to tourism funds, and the industry knows it. They've come with a new Web site to promote their goals, including keeping the state tourism department as a stand alone agency. A proposal is floating around to merge it with another agency.

The tourism industry may have fallen behind the curve in promoting itself during this steep and deep recession, but it remains vital to the state economy. Time to show the bean counters.

HOW ABOUT THAT

Sen. Bingaman
Did both senators from any other state besides ours vote against the $858 billion tax cut package that cleared the Senate on an 81-19 vote Wednesday? We see that the Senators from both Vermont and Oregon also voted no. Both NM Democrats Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall did turn thumbs down on the deal Obama negotiated with the R's. The deal breaker for them was extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. (Bingaman's floor speech here. His news release here. Udall's release here.)

We flagged Bingaman's opposition this week, pointing out it was a clear signal to the nominating wing of the Democratic Party that he is not going to follow the Obama tax path which has drawn so much fire from liberals. Bingaman is up for re-election in 2012, Udall not until 2014. Unlike Jeff, Tom voted to end debate on the tax bill, giving his liberal base concerns that he might also vote for the tax bill. However, Udall is a leader of the cause to stop the delaying tactics on both sides of the aisle. He voted to end debate, but his liberal instincts were asserted on the final vote.

But Jeff and Tom don't have only liberals on their side on this. We and others who are advocating a more populist approach and supporting increased taxation on the upper incomes are in the majority. Polls show that while the public supports most of the tax cut package that now goes to the House, they do not support extending the tax cuts to the wealthy. But the tax cuts for the rich and the middle class were rolled into one bill.

The overriding worry is that we become more and more like Mexico as increased wealth is concentrated among an ever smaller portion of the population. That's not how a middle class prospers. (Bingaman argued that the tax cuts for the wealthiest would create more unaffordable national debt.)

Bingaman's two votes this week against the deal--the first on cutting off debate and his no vote on final passage--gratified his supporters who want to see some steel in his backbone as he prepares for a possibly tough re-election. He could have hedged by voting to keep the tax debate going, but then voting for the tax deal on final passage. That Bingaman gave opponents of tax cuts for the wealthy both his votes shows that the Senator's nearly 30 years in Washington have not separated him from the people who sent him there. Not a bad way to start the 2012 cycle.

THE BOTTOM LINES

A lot of this politics thing is simply good (and lucky) timing. Rising GOP star Matt Chandler lost his bid for attorney general, but the Clovis area district attorney then gets assigned the corruption case of Santa Fe Sheriff Greg Solano. That's because the Santa Fe area DA wanted to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. That keeps Chandler, 35, in the news and gives him a chance to show his prosecutorial stuff on the statewide stage. Now if he could only find something to run for.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2010
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