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Friday, September 02, 2016

Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

If there is a special session of the legislature called by the Governor this month, why wouldn't she place on the call a reinstatement of the death penalty for convinced child and cop killers? It's a classic wedge issue that the R's could take into the legislative races with full force in the crucial month of October, knocking the Dems for failing to reinstate the penalty. It's another way they get way from the budget and economic crisis that has the potential to dislodge them from control of the state House. . .

When it comes to the gargantuan budget deficit--upwards of a billion dollars over the next several years--we expect the R's to frame that one as a battle of the tax raisers vs. the tax cutters. That's already popping up in one contested state Senate battle. . .

Despite years of evidence to the contrary, the champions of state tax cuts insist they are delivering on their economic promise. Take this from the ABQ Chamber of Commerce:

. . . We need to continue implementing – on schedule – the landmark bipartisan tax reform package of 2013, which is reducing New Mexico’s business tax rate and making us more competitive.

But how is that corporate tax cut making us more competitive? Are corporations moving here to take advantage of them? No. Are those here expanding? No.

Meanwhile, the oil crash, combined with a decade long streak of tax cutting, has blown that immense hole in the state budget.

OUTSIDE THE BOX

The drug epidemic is so widespread in ABQ and NM that readers are looking outside the box for solutions. One of them sends this:

A task force established to combat a heroin epidemic in the Seattle area has endorsed a strategy of establishing places where addicts would be allowed to take drugs without fear of being arrested. . . Addicts would receive clean needles and syringes and would be permitted to inject heroin, smoke crack cocaine and take other addictive drugs under the supervision of trained authorities.

Drugs would not be supplied by the facilities themselves, said Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, the health officer for public health in Seattle and a chairman of the task force. The group was formed. . . in response to increasing heroin use in the region. Dr. Duchin said the facilities would “serve a marginalized population, those who really have nowhere else to go.”

“They inject publicly and outdoors, they’re homeless and/or unemployed, and basically debilitated by their addiction,” he said.

Dr. Duchin said the facilities could offer a doorway to addiction treatment and primary medical care, as well as reducing addicts’ risk of infections like H.I.V. and hepatitis. 

Deaths by heroin overdose in King County skyrocketed in 2014, killing 156 people in the county  an increase of nearly 60 percent from the year before. 

Thanks for stopping by this week and Happy Labor Day.

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