Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Oil Crashes Again But Santa Fe Bean Counters Look The Other Way; State Budget And Economy Analyzed, Plus: ABQ Crime Creep  

How's this for timing? Just as Martinez administration and legislative economists Monday were rolling out somewhat Pollyannish revenue estimates for the budget year that starts July 1, the oil market crashed yet again taking the price below the psychologically important $40 a barrel mark and pushing the state's fiscal standing further into doubt.

The budget estimators owned up some, saying there will now be about $232 million in "new money" for the Legislature to divvy up in its 30 day session beginning in January, a decline of over $60 million from their previous estimate. But the bean counters continue to look the other way at that unsightly oil crash as seen in their own report:

If market prices do not recover as expected, general fund revenue may decrease by $100 million or more in FY16 and FY17. It is not known whether increased production in the Permian basin will be sufficient to eliminate this outstanding price risk. In FY15 oil production grew 25%. Production is now more than double the level that prevailed over the last 30 years.

Here's our real deal biz coverage:

Oil prices are crashing and could stay crashed for months or even years, costing the state tens of millions in revenue; state gross receipts tax collections are growing mainly because of increased audits not more economic activity; an ill-advised corporate tax cut is now costing the state tens of millions more than first estimated and overall job and economic growth continues to stagnate.

 And that's all from the official document we linked to--not our opinion.

With the 2016 legislative elections fast approaching the Martinez administration--via Dr. Tom Clifford of the Department of Finance and Administration--seems especially intent on propping up the revenue estimates and the general state of the economy. So much so that State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith is pronouncing himself "strongly suspicious" of the latest estimates.

Regardless of the political positioning over the state's $6.2 general fund budget the real deal biz coverage bottom line remains:

New Mexico is in a secular (long-term) bear market with key areas of the economy (oil and gas) continuing to shrink, wages stagnating or dropping, increasing poverty rates and the out migration of people apparently going uninterrupted. No wonder the Guv would rather spend her time snapping pictures of Holly Holm.


Berry & Chief Eden
This one caught our eye because it is yet another violent incident in the well-off far NE Heights (in the Sandia Foothills east of Tramway and Montgomery) where crime is supposed to be at bay and where Mayor Berry draws his main political support:

When two or three people wearing ski masks attempted to break into a car at the top of a steep driveway in the foothills Sunday morning, police say a man who lives in the house confronted them. He shot one man multiple times, police say. The neighborhood of large houses at the base of the Sandia Mountains is usually very quiet and peaceful, Lewis said.  “It’s weird all of a sudden this happening Sunday morning in broad daylight,” Lewis said.

And there are plenty more gun owners out there these days with the media reporting earlier in the year of a run on gun shops in the wake of a violent crime outbreak in the city.


First, Gov. Martinez's new talking points on DWI and then the counterpoint.

Gov. Martinez wants to step up roundups of drunken-driving fugitives and have citizen watchdogs monitor judges who are routinely lenient on drunken-driving suspects. Those are parts of new executive orders the Republican announced Monday to "crack down" on crimes related to drunken driving. The moves comes days after police say a man accused of drunken driving killed three people in an Albuquerque crash.

And the counterpoint from a reader:

Don't we already have Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to do this? What about our dying economy, our failing education system, the ongoing corruption on the gov's watch, and our biggest city, controlled by the gov's cronies, collapsing under the weight of violent crime and police corruption? I can't believe much of the press and the public keep letting her get away with it.

Speaking of the press, Reader Bill Diven writes:

The ABQ Journal hit four-for-four on Sunday 1) expounding again on locking up more suspects without bail; 2) touting kick-fight champ Holly Holm with a heavy-paper souvenir section; 3) wrapping a gun dealer's Red Tag weapons sale around ad inserts; and 4) spreading a Bekins Van Lines ad across the bottom of the front page. And so goes poor Albuquerque: One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.

And don't step on those Alligator shoes, Bill.

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