Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Will Santa Fe's Extended Money Mess Eventually Lead To Layoffs? Plus: Wayward UNM Singled Out For Budget Punishment, And : A TV Ad For Congress Or Is It Governor?
Well, that, of course, is a joke but what is happening at the Merry Roundhouse isn't very funny. We don't think we've ever seen a fiscal mess like this. At the fourth day of the special session of the legislature the band-aids continue to be applied to a historic budget shortfall that encompasses not one, but three budget years--FY 16, 17 and '18 which starts next July 1.
Even if the price of oil comes back, production may not return to what it once was, leaving the state still struggling for revenue for many years. We appear to be inching closer and closer to layoffs and/or furloughs in the months ahead unless other revenue sources are considered to finance the government.
The House has recessed until Wednesday morning. It will finish its work on the budget package and crime bills and then send them over to the Senate which adjourned early Saturday but will now reconvene Thursday. The House budget plan will differ from the Senate's but it saves about as much money, say majority House R's.
No one is surprised that the University of New Mexico is being singled out for extra punishment at the special, with House R's calling for an especially onerous 8 percent cut to the UNM budget. That $350,000 job created for outgoing President Frank, the arrogance of UNM VP Harris storming out of a TV interview over athletic department dinner expenses and the continued mismanagement at the athletic department made UNM a vulnerable target. It only has itself to blame.
Reader Dennis has these thoughts on the special session:
Joe, The Legislature will try to cover the state's debts. This is more important than the loss of any single person no matter how tragic. The poverty and violence as a consequence of not having a budget would be a tragedy that no one in the state could escape. Lives are on the line. The lack of reserves is a risk which means that if a disaster occurs it may bankrupt the state. Self-righteous crime bills are insignificant compared to the problems the Legislature will face with no reserve or future revenue to take care of a disaster.
On last Friday's blog former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez chimed in on the current state of the city he governed for three terms saying, among other things, that he would replace the current police chief and accelerate reform of APD to halt the crime wave here. Readers responded--both pro and con. Kelley DuPont had this:
Joe, We can only imagine how different Albuquerque would be if we still had Marty instead of Mayor Berry. Marty Chavez was a doer. The Bio Park, Montano and Paseo bridges, the 311 system, the graffiti removal team, the balloon museum, the Sunport all have Marty Chavez's thumbprint. And these are just the ones I could come up with quickly. I'm sure there are a lot more. As for Berry, accomplishments are not many. Instead we have massive crime and few jobs and opportunities for our city. It's bleak. What we're going to get from Berry is the ART project which I fear is going to be a big expensive mess. To be fair, if Berry has positive accomplishments for ABQ perhaps someone can list them.
An anonymous reader came with a different view:
Marty criticizing Berry is interesting considering how little he was able to accomplish other than becoming so unlikeable. He did little for downtown because he didn’t want former Mayor Jim Baca to get any credit for it. It’s true the ABQ police department problems under weak leadership are totally inexplicable. But Berry has gotten the grocery store building and subsidized housing project downtown, brought about the development of the First Street/Central property, and supported the Innovate ABQ project which at this point is looking very promising. And despite what everyone seems to be saying, I think the ART project will end up being a big plus in several ways. But then it’s hard to forgive him for using Susana’s despicable political advisor.
The next mayoral election is October 3, 2017, just under a year away now.
ABQ Dem Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham comes with 60 second tear-jerker, bio TV ad that appears to have little to do with her bid for re-election this November and very much to do with her embryonic plans to seek the 2018 Dem Guv nomination. As for Richard Priem, her below-the-radar GOP opponent as she seeks a third, two year term in DC, he gets no mention in the new ad.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016