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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Another Economic Sinkhole Opens, The Famous King Family Cashes Out, APS Taxes Saving Private Construction And Still Waiting For A Post-Pizza Party Susana Poll 

Another economic sinkhole just opened. This time it's in Roswell in the SE NM oil patch were the bear market in oil prices is now crushing the budget of that city of 50,000:

. . . Year to date, the city of Roswell is short $1.4 million in gross receipts taxes. Poor economic trends with the state’s gas and oil prices take much of the blame for the financial imbalance. “I think this is related to gas and oil as well as our overall state economy,” said (Roswell City councilor Caleb) Grant.

Roswell joins Santa Fe in seeing the bottom drop out of its budget. In the capital city they are $18 million short and it looks like they are going to raise taxes rather than downsize to resolve the deficit. The state budget is also in perilous shape with everything now depending on the price of oil rebounding to near $40 a barrel. Right now it's in the low 30's.

The famous King ranching family that gave us Bruce King as governor is ready to call it a day:

The massive King Brothers’ Alamo Ranch northwest of Rio Rancho is up for sale with a $33 million price tag. . . Since its purchase in 1961 by the late Gov. Bruce King and his brothers, the property is considered to be one of New Mexico’s legacy ranches. The working ranch encompasses 60,000 deeded acres and 14,000 leased acres of state land. . .  “I think the family just feels it’s a good time to sell, given the ranch market,” said Jeff Buerger, a broker for Hall and Hall.

Reader Deryle Perryman sends this in:

Panelist Gary Goodman, owner and president of the Goodman Realty Group, which is developing ABQ's Winrock Town Center, had a slightly different take on the question of money. “Everywhere I look, capital seems to be a major problem,” Goodman said,“A lack of venture capital, a lack of capital to invest in our basic infrastructure and a reluctance to invest. . .

Well, Goodman has it right but until the business community starts putting the blame where it belongs--at the feet of the Republican Governor, Republican House and conservative Senate austerity Democrats, he and his brethren are getting no boost in capital.

If Goodman and other biz leaders do decide to speak out about the lack of political leadership, they will have a sympathetic audience. ABQ voters recently gave resounding approval to that big ABQ Public Schools $575 million bond and mill levy measure. And here's a partial reason why:

Construction workers, plumbers, electricians, engineering firms, decorators, architects and contractors all depend on Albuquerque Public Schools, which dominates the local construction industry. Since 2009, the district has accounted for 65 percent to 85 percent of all building permits in the city and Bernalillo County, according to an APS analysis of city and county data. That percentage is so high because New Mexico is still struggling with the aftermath of the economic crash that hit in late 2007 and slowed other sources of commercial construction.

And the austerity hawks put their beaks in the air when it comes to government spending? Geez. . .

WHAT ABOUT HER?

The newspaper decided to poll Republicans on what Democratic presidential candidate they prefer. That's off the beaten path. What politics watchers and interested citizens really want to know is the polling numbers for Republican Governor Susana Martinez. What is the view of her in the post-pizza party era and with a still rocky economy? The December pizza party gone bad went viral and may have forever redefined perceptions of the governor thus impacting how she conducts business in the remaining years of her term.

We blogged last month of glimpsing some regional polling conducted in the western part of the state that showed her sinking below the critical 50% approval level. What's the story statewide? NM's presidential primary is June 7 and will likely have no role in choosing either party's prez nominee. Knowing who the state's voters prefer for the White House is titillating but not particularly relevant. Knowing Martinez's approval rating, however, has real policy consequences--consequences we're guessing her protectors in the media don't want to know or consider.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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