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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Senate Leader Battles Back Against Tax Hike Monkey; Final Numbers On Budget Crisis Coming, Plus: Crazy In Hawaii, Susana Goes Her Merry Way And A Poll On ART 

Sen. Sanchez
As the state prepares to release more budget numbers on the budget crisis today, the tax hike monkey is being hung around the neck of Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez.

Republicans have scored him for wanting to solve the crisis via tax hikes but the lawmaker pushed back in an interview with us, saying newspaper headlines suggesting he was hinting at a tax hike was a political hit designed to put him on the defense in his duel with Gov. Martinez. She again this week reiterated her "no new taxes" pledge, despite a ballooning deficit that could approach $700 million or more

Sanchez had said, "we just can't cut ourselves out of the problem." That statement turned into he headline that Sanchez was hinting a tax hike was needed, putting him and his party on the defense.

So just what does Sanchez advocate? He tells us the legislature ought to approve a temporary rollback of the big Richardson era personal income tax cuts as well as Gov. Martinez's corporate tax cut. He says his foes will "spin" that as a tax increase but he doesn't view it as one. Well, not to worry. The House Republicans are not going to go there and Martinez would never sign it.

In an important note, Sanchez added that he will not support reinstating the tax on food and medicine and said that neither would a "majority of his caucus." That still leaves open the door for a handful of conservative Dems to bolt and join with Senate Republicans to reinstate the tax, assuming the House R's would go along--a big assumption.

On thing to watch for: The partisan bickering that has marked all the years of the Martinez regime could give way in the months ahead as representatives and senators of both parties realize that the sky is truly falling on the state budget. Republicans control two branches of the government. Before this is all over that monkey they are putting on Sanchez's back is going to be hugging them, too. One way or the other.

CRAZY IN HAWAII?

We dubbed the idea that New Mexico could close its public schools for two weeks as one method to relieve the state budget crisis as "crazy." Well, a number of readers report they went "crazy" in Hawaii:

. . . A new union contract. . . closes schools on most Fridays for the remainder of the academic calendar. The deal whacks 17 days from the school year for budget-cutting reasons and has education advocates incensed that Hawaii is drastically cutting the academic calendar at a time when it already ranks near the bottom in national educational achievement. 

NM also ranks at the bottom in education achievement so if Santa Fe doesn't say a quick "aloha" to the school closure idea, they ought to have their heads buried in the sands of Waikiki.

HER MERRY WAY

While others tear their hair out one the budget, the Governor goes along her merry way talking about what her pollsters want her to talk about. Like the death penalty which she wants to reimpose in the state, at least for child killers and cop killers. Well, that polls well but:

After nearly two decades of declining use, opponents of the death penalty have begun what they characterize as a sustained legislative and political push to end capital punishment in states across the country. Voters in California and Nebraska will decide this year whether to end the death penalty.  Legislators appear poised to end capital punishment in states as different as deep-blue Delaware and ruby-red Utah. And public opinion polls show that while a majority of Americans still back executions for those convicted of murder, that majority is shrinking.

Martinez's showboating proposal is dead on arrival at the Roundhouse which brings to mind that old slogan: "Time is a terrible thing to waste." Maybe someone should put that on the door of the Guv's office.

ART POLL

Dan Vukelich, the editor of the ABQ Free Press writes:

On Wednesday (today) a reader poll will appear on our website urging people to vote in our poll on ART.  The poll stays open until 5 p.m. Sept. 2. We're really pushing to get readers to pass on the link to the poll across their social media circles. Here's the link.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016
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