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Friday, January 06, 2017

Friday Clippings From Our Newsroom Floor 

Working the Beat
This is surprising. Whether it's prudent is another matter:

Employees at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository resumed disposal work Wednesday after a nearly three-year hiatus prompted by a radiation release that contaminated a significant portion of the facility. Two pallets of low-level radioactive waste were emplaced in one of the underground disposal rooms at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed.

Reader Ezra Spitzer disagrees with our take and doesn't think imposing the state's gross receipts tax on big online retailers like Amazon.com is the way to go when it comes to raising badly needed revenue for the state:

I'm not a no tax yahoo and consider myself a progressive, but totally disappointed seeing you and others jumping on expanding the gross receipts tax to Internet sales as a "fix" for all that ails us. The gross receipts is a horribly regressive tax...just about as bad as they come and I hate to see folks arguing for its expansion. We should be trying to get the dang thing lowered and fewer things taxed by it instead of expanding what it touches. I also fail to see Macy's or Big 5 or any other big box as a "local business." Amazon just beat them at their own game. There are so many tax solutions that would fix our problems and I refuse to believe any expansion or increase of a regressive tax is the right solution.

In the old days, before today's radicalization of tax policy in which no tax increases whatsoever can be entertained, the short-term solution to the state's budget crisis would be relatively easy. The liberals give by supporting that Internet tax, the conservatives give by agreeing to a freeze on the recently enacted corporate income tax cut and to an increase in the capital gains tax. Both sides agree to a nickel or dime a gallon boost in the gas tax (for a specified time period) and some selective government cuts. And you are on your way. But radicalization has led to gridlock and a never ending crisis. In other words, Susana Martinez is no Garrey Carruthers.

SMILE, TOM

When we first posted this pic of Susana and a forlorn looking bystander, we did not know it was Tom Church, the secretary of the state's transportation department. We joked that he looked as if he were in mourning and that perhaps he was thinking that soon he would have to be looking for a new job as Susana's final two years commence. All in good fun, of course, but this reader, who in the past worked with the secretary, says Church may look sad but he's not turning in a sad performance:

While I appreciate the need for humor (especially these days), I'm a little disappointed that it came at the Mr. Church's expense as he is among the few outstanding appointments made by this administration. Under Mr. Church's leadership, the NMDOT has dramatically increased the number of projects under construction, made progress in delivering big projects on time and under budget (think Paseo del Norte), and has resisted the old patron system of project selection in favor of prioritizing road work based on citizen safety and need. Also, Mr. Church came up through the ranks, he was not placed there as an act of political patronage. We, as a state, would be lucky to have him remain the head of NMDOT after Susana is long gone. 

Well, that ought to give Church a needed grin.

Thanks for stopping by this week.

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