Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Udall Parts With Progressives On Corporate Tax Cutting As He Looks Toward Re-election, Plus: The Spaceport Blues; More Money Needed; What Say Susana? And: More Reader Blogging On Our State's Water Woes 

Martinez & Udall (Journal)
Tom Udall was recently ranked as the Senator with the most liberal voting record in the USA. But you wouldn't know it judging by his recent statement about that controversial corporate tax cut pushed through the '13 Legislature by Governor Martinez. With no formidable foes in sight and none expected, Udall is parting companies with fellow progressives and patting Susana on the back.

It’s a big issue how we can move forward in developing business and promoting growth and economic development in New Mexico. There’s a sense that we’re lagging surrounding states, so I think the tax reform was a good thing to put us on an equal basis...

"A sense that we are lagging other states?" Hey, Tom, we are at or near the bottom of the barrel in just about every economic ranking you can name.

But when you are waltzing to an easy re-elect, the status quo becomes your best friend.

The operative theory is that the R's want to keep turnout low to better the chances of Martinez's '14 re-election. Giving Udall and (ABQ Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham) basically free rides assist with that goal.

The corporate tax cut was vigorously opposed by the populists and liberals who are normally strong backers of Udall, coming as it did at time of historic income inequality. But it was supported by key Dem legislative leaders who Udall is now aligning himself with. Like them, Udall apparently sees playing nice with the GOP Governor as the best bet. It may be for Udall who has little to worry about but not so for legislative Dems. They need to increase turnout for their legislative races. Cutting corporate income taxes is not exactly a core value among the activist base they need to get to the polling places.

One of the big stories next year is going to be the GOP effort to take over the state House. They only need a few seats and they are already drawing up their list of targets.


A big win for UNM last night as Rio Rancho voters decided against repealing a portion of a tax in support of the UNM West campus in the ABQ suburb.

The repeal effort--supported by Tea Partiers who have muscle on the Rio Rancho city council--went down on a vote of 59% to 41%. The raw vote total was 3,611 against the repeal and 2,480 for. Voter turnout was just under 11% of registered voters. Pretty high for this kind of election. Auto dealer Don Chalmers led the drive in support of UNM. Maybe they will give him season tickets to The Pit, if he doesn't already have them.

(Kudos to city of Rio Rancho for not only reporting timely results, but explaining what they meant. Maybe the ABQ city clerk was paying attention?)


Mayor Berry comes with his first TV ad of the campaign--and surprise--he touts the downtrodden ABQ economy. It's the old tactic of trying to turn your weakness into a strength.

"We're moving in the right direction." asserts Berry in his TV ad. That as the city continues to show no or very slow employment growth, a commercial real estate depression and flat tax collections.

A city council candidate's campaign told us that jobs and the economy are now the number one issue in his district, compared to 2009 when it was crime. That's why Berry and his shadow--Jay McCleskey-- are playing defense. That Berry is trying to prop up his economic record tells the Dems all they need to know about where he is vulnerable. But do they know how to take advantage?

We give the spot a "C+."  It works in a vacuum, but does not stand up to the economic reality on the ground.


Tonight will mark the first joint appearance by the three men who would be Mayor. Will sparks fly?

...Mayoral candidates will discuss their views on how to improve the city’s economy and support local businesses at a forum sponsored by the...National Association of Women Business Owners. The public is invited. Candidates Pete Dinelli, Paul Heh and incumbent Mayor Richard Berry will participate in this forum August 21, at the Sheraton Uptown. The event includes dinner and will be from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. The price is $32 for NAWBO members and $37 for others...

Dinner and a mayor debate. Who walks away with indigestion?


You can feel the oxygen being sucked out of Spaceport America. The project is losing momentum and the news that it needs more than $6 million to complete road work threatens to further antagonize opponents. The Spaceport needs firm and unequivocal support from the Governor if it is to regain  momentum. Martinez resisted the project at the start of her term, with many of her backers mocking the Spaceport as a "legacy" project of former Governor Big Bill. She has since mellowed. Now her support awaits this new test.


Roman Maes made a pitch here for addressing our drought by importing water to New Mexico from areas that are flooding by building a pipeline. That drew a sharp retort from Steve Harris of the group Rio Grande Restoration in Embudo:

I don't know how to begin to tell you how wrong-headed Roman Maes' quote actually is. A look at the historic precipitation pattern would show that one year's drought-plagued area is next year's flood-stricken area (and vice-versa). And what the NASA report he cited actually says is that this pattern of extreme variation is expected to continue. The only sane solution to our water problem lies in a new way of thinking about how we are to occupy the SW. Some suggestions:

--Reduce overall, and per capita, water demand (see San Antonio, TX).

--Reserve fossil water for use during drier than average spells, rather than pumping aquifers dry to support new development.

--Develop technologies for water efficiency and reuse.

--Transition our economy from (failing) Construction and Manufacturing sectors into Technology, Alternative Energy and Tourism.

--Recognize that the water is where it is supposed to be: no area can afford to export what it's got.

Southwesterners can and must adapt to the reality of geography and climate. Senator Maes and (I'm afraid) too many other "leaders" are expecting that we can make reality adapt to our expectations/aspirations.


In the first draft of the Tuesday blog we had a sentence that indicated ABQ Judge Alan Malott supported a proposal that would limit the scope of the ABQ minimum wage. As evidenced by his quote in the same story, the judge in no way supports limiting the recently approved increase in the minimum wage. Sorry, judge. Nolo contendere on that one.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. Thanks for making us NM's #1 political web site--year in and year out...

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.      

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign