Friday, March 06, 2015

Another ABQ Outbound, Right-To-Work Senate Blast Fails To Ignite And Monitoring The Oil Bear 

(Brose, ABQ Journal)
Yet another outbound ABQ story. This time it's the annual Arabian and Half-Arabian Youth National Championship Horse Show. It's pulling up stakes here and moving the event--an estimated $10 million contributor to the ABQ economy--to Oklahoma. It's what you get when you combine an insistence on economic austerity with a yawning leadership vacuum.

Oklahoma spent $100 million improving its State Fair Park. Forsaking the shabby and ramshackle NM Expo and the antiquated Tingley Coliseum was a no-brainer.

NM Expo officials plead poverty, saying we could not compete with the Oklahoma improvements. Sure, you could--if you floated a statewide bond issue for a new Tingley (the arena dates to the 50's) and had the outspoken backing of the legislative leadership the Governor and Mayor. You would not only keep the annual horse show, but attract mega-concerts, major sporting events and trade shows that spark a economy. Not to mention the attendance upswing you would get at the state fair. A new 21st century Tingley would be a boon for the entire state.

The Legislature could have paused the state bond issues for some senior centers and other construction bonds for a couple of years and asked voters to instead approve a new Tingley while interest rates are at historic lows. It's still not too late, but you need aggressive leadership. Around here that's harder to find than an Arabian horse show.


Sen. Ingle
State Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle did the state a favor Thursday when he ended the tension and moved to blast the controversial right-to-work bill to the floor of the Senate thus bypassing that chamber's cherished committee system. The move was stopped on a 25 to 17 party line vote. Right-to-work, approved in the GOP controlled House, will be killed once and for all in the Senate Public Affairs Committee Sunday.

Ingle could have kept everyone dangling and kept the threat of a blast alive until the end of the session. This way everyone has their say and the final weeks of the session don't have to be embroiled in a wedge issue of little consequence--one that was fully debated here over thirty years ago. Sorry, RTW groupies, the party is over for this year.


How long will these low oil and gas prices last? Well, if this industry bigwig has it right, NM legislators are going to have to wait a while before the oil royalties pick up again:

Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson expects the price of oil to remain low over the next two years because of ample global supplies and relatively weak economic growth. "People kinda need to settle in for a while," Tillerson said at the company's annual investor conference in New York.

The state's general fund budget is $6.2 billion for the next budget year starting July 1. About 20% of that comes from energy taxes and royalties. Santa Fe's budget assumes oil will average about $56 a barrel. It closed Thursday at $50.90.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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