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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The R Jobs "Plan" You Probably Didn't Know Of, Plus: Readers Weigh In On Session, And: A Rainy Day In Texas 

There is actually an economic plan from Governor Martinez and the legislative Republicans. You just haven't heard them say it out loud. That's how one of our Senior Alligators of the Republican variety explains the sounds of silence in Santa Fe over the number one issue on the minds of voters.

Republicans believe if they balance the budget, eliminate regulations on business and don't raise taxes, the private sector will produce all the jobs we need...


And that's the plan. You just haven't heard anyone in the Republican Party say it lately.

Of course, our state is required by its Constitution to have a balanced budget and we have had sizable tax cuts in the last few years. As for regulations, the city of ABQ completely eliminated impact fees on construction and the state hasn't imposed any job-killing regulation of late. (No, the PIT rule isn't an exception).

So where are the jobs? According to a reader grown frustrated with the unemployed, the jobs are out there:

Those who want to work will find work. Those who want a siesta at government expense will cruise for as long as it lasts. I was at Coaches sports bar over the weekend watching basketball. Place was full of unemployed drinking my tax dollars and having a good time. There is not much sympathy here for the plight of the unemployed....

Well, despite that Draconian view, there's plenty of sympathy for the unemployed. But there's not a wealth of new ideas on how to spark the state's lackluster economy and get them out of Coaches and onto the playing field of life.

THE REVENUE SIDE

Reader Joan Fenicle writes of the legislative session:

Without a willingness to even discuss the revenue side of the picture (high income folks and out of state corporations to start), the legislature’s mission of balancing the budget was doomed from the start. We can’t keep “putting the fiscal house in order” on the backs of working people!


Governor Martinez has pledged to veto any and all tax increases during her four year term. Governor Richardson reduced the state personal income tax so that now those at the top of the income scale essentially pay the same income tax rate as those in the middle.

Reader Pete Baston adds:

99% of all legislation and discussion at the Roundhouse should be totally focused on economic recovery and job creation but then again I suppose pigs may also fly...

We have had economic legislation discussed this session, but not much.


SUPER BOONDOGGLE?


A reader writes:

Joe, I can't believe the Governor hasn't killed this idea already. Why in the world would the state need to spend 10 million for this land in the middle of nowhere and then spend millions more to create cushy new offices for state employees, while at the same time ruining the Santa Fe office market for years to come? "Super Boondoggle not Super Complex."

And the news story:

Gov. Martinez has asked for another three months to make a decision on a proposed new “supercomplex” government office building south of the city on the Las Soleras property.

If the project becomes a reality, all Human Services offices, now scattered in several rented buildings in Santa Fe, would be under one roof. The state would pay the partnership $6 million for the land and give the partners 4.4 acres of state land in southeastern Santa Fe...

Martinez hasn't brought much to Santa Fe in the way of legislative initiatives, but she has brought with her a sense of frugality fitting with the times. We'll see if that is the case with the "Super Boondoggle."

THE EDUCATION BEAT

Some equal time now for those who differed with our view that the Guv's education initiatives are generally worthy of support. Eight year APS teacher Alyssa Agranat says the teacher accountability measures (SB 502) that passed the Senate and is now in the House is not an answer:

I agree that this state desperately needs a revolution in education. Teachers, like myself, welcome accountability and accurate, fair evaluations of our work. We would love there to be more efficient mechanisms in place for principals to be able to get rid of the few ineffective teachers who make the rest of us look bad. However, SB 502 is not the answer. When it was approved in the Senate on Friday night, my heart sank...

There are very harmful provisions in this bill that will defeat it's own purpose...When a teacher’s career is tied to student scores, even if it is only a percentage of that teacher’s “effectiveness” rating, what incentive does a teacher have to stay in a challenging school? For me, I hope my love of these children is enough to keep me in a tough school, and take my chances with their test scores.


Here's Agranat's full remarks.

By the way, we'll blog your longer pieces, including op-eds, by linking to them on an external site. Feel free to email them in.

A RAINY DAY IN TEXAS


It appears various proposals to use the state's $14 billion in Permanent Funds to solve our fiscal woes will go nowhere in Santa Fe this year. Our budget shortfall is not of the size to galvanize public opinion for such a move. But look over at Texas. The story could be different there as they grapple with a shortfall in the tens of billions. The El Paso Times editorial page opines:

In 1988, Texans voted to establish the Rainy Day Fund. Here is the ballot language: "The constitutional amendment establishing an economic stabilization fund in the state treasury to be used to offset unforeseen shortfalls in revenue."...It was a prescient move because Texas now faces a revenue shortfall that demands use of the Rainy Day Fund...The Legislature has to take care of a projected deficit for the 2012-2013 biennium estimated at as much as $27 billion...This is a good use of the estimated $9.4 billion Rainy Day Fund.

With long-term prospects for the New Mexican economy baffling at best, you wonder if we are not too far from the day when the use of our Permanent Funds starts to draw wider support.

Governor Martinez doesn't talk much anymore on how New Mexico should emulate Texas. Thanks for that, Guv.

THE GUV'S GANG

First it was Martinez political strategist Jay McCleskey announcing he was opening his own advertising and consulting shop. Now it's Danny Diaz, another Martinez consultant who also served as her transition spokesman, getting into the act. While McCleskey is based in NM, Diaz is in DC:

FP1 Strategies, a public affairs, media relations and advertising firm specializing in project management, strategic planning, message development and advertising for political and issue-based campaigns announces its formation. It is founded by Terry Nelson, Jon Downs and Danny Diaz...


Wonder if Danny and Jay will be competing for Susana's ear?

WHEN DID IT START?

Sometimes we wonder how we get in these things, but too late now. Another reader on just when the Dems began attacking Susana Martinez in the 2010 campaign:


Not to throw hot water on the anonymous state Dem party official retort to James Meier, but the state Dem Party was knee deep in attacking Susana Martinez pre-primary. Just look at the absolutely foolish and amateurish public battle over public records requests by the state Dems and the attempts to shop the IPod purchases by her office. The state Dem party leadership did a very good job of inoculating Martinez against post-primary attacks. It would seem that someone at the State Dem Party suffers greatly from amnesia...

THE DREAM DIES

The long-held dream of former NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici of having nuclear power provide a larger share of the nation's electricity needs ended for good Monday as the Japan tsunami and subsequent nuclear catastrophe washed away any hopes for a nuclear power revival in our lifetime.

New Mexico's ties to the nuclear industry remain, including Sandia and Los Alamos Labs. We also have a large uranium processing facility in Lea County.

MY BOTTOM LINES

No wonder the part-time politicos in Luna County are smuggling guns to Mexican drug dealers. The unemployment rate in the county is 22.5%....How about ABQ School Board member Marty Esquivel taking on ABQ State Senator Cisco McSorley in a Dem primary in 2012? Cisco may be vulnerable after being stripped of his judiciary committee chairmanship...

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(C )NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
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