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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

UNM Vs. The Public Schools; Weighing The Budget Cuts, Plus: Send MeDown To Tucson And Heinrich Set To Kick-Off '18 Campaign 

While legislators carve up the public schools, a much more enticing budget-cutting target has to be the University of New Mexico. The bulky bureaucracy there is looking more and more vulnerable as this trend accelerates:

With falling enrollment and stagnant funding, Pennsylvania's state university system is undergoing a strategic review that could result in the merger or closure of some of its 14 campuses, according to system officials. It's the first time in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's 35-year history that such options will be looked at, according to a system official. The decision comes as many colleges across the region and nation have struggled with falling enrollment as the number of high school graduates declines and the higher-education market becomes more competitive.

In New Mexico, NMSU has undertaken structural reforms for a future of fewer students, but UNM has only been nibbling around the edges. Meanwhile, support for the public schools remains stronger among voters than it is for higher education. You would expect to  eventually see that play out as the endless cutting goes on and on. . .

Don Tripp won't be getting  a bird's eye view of what happens at UNM. The former GOP NM House speaker has withdrawn his nomination as a UNM Regent, citing possible constitutional conflicts. Gov. Martinez immediately said she would name Alex Romero, the soon-to-retire CEO of the ABQ Hispanic Chamber, as her new nominee. Romero recently kicked around possible political ambitions for when he leaves the Chamber.

Gov. Martinez will have the votes on the regents to influence the choice of the next UNM president to replace Bob Frank who resigned. That influence would extend well beyond her term which concludes at the end of 2018.

SEND ME DOWN TO TUCSON

It's just crazy the difference between what is happening here and in similarly sized Tucson, as reader Ron Nelson informs:

When I read this article this, I almost fell out of my chair. Note this projection is just for one city and not the whole state. "The Tucson area is expected to add about 7,100 jobs in 2017, so home prices and commercial brokers predict rents for residential and commercial properties will begin a steady rise. All markets are responding to the long-awaited good news that 2016 brought and forecasts for 2017 are equally positive."

Okay, we don't want to Californicate New Mexico, but we'd sure like a piece of that pie they're eating in Tucson.

What better time to bring in conservative reader Jim McClure to further lament the state of the state:

Joe, the only surprise in a recent poll is that it shows 16% of business leaders still believe New Mexico is on the right track. Perhaps they’re owners of marijuana dispensaries. Or customers. Your assessment indicates that New Mexico’s leaders are out of ideas and are falling back on ideology. The R’s squandered their partial control of state government on tax cuts and failed to push through the deregulation and government reform that has helped other states. Now that the Dems have regained the legislature, they are recycling the traditional party line of raising taxes, imposing new employer mandates, reversing education reform, ignoring crime and making dubious “investments” in social programs. The most bizarre development is that both our US senators apparently believe that slandering cabinet members on the Senate floor is the best way to keep federal dollars flowing to New Mexico. I still think the answer is to rescind statehood and outsource our governance to Arizona, Colorado, Texas or Mexico.

Anywhere but Texas, Jim. Anywhere!

STARTING GATE

There will be dozens and dozens more in the next two years, but the first fund-raiser is noteworthy as it signifies the start of the 2018 US Senate race:

Join Senator Martin Heinrich For a Lunch Reception To kick off his re-election campaign With Special Guest Senator Cory Booker Saturday, March 4, 2017 11:00 – 12:30 pm at The Home of Greg Levenson. Suggested Contribution: Host - $2,700 Guest - $1,000 Current Heinrich Trust members - $250.

Booker is a former mayor of Newark. Heinrich is seeking his second term. His only announced GOP opponent so far is ABQ contractor Mick Rich.

THE BOTTOM LINES

From the SOS:

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has made available all of the 2017 Financial Disclosure Statements for public officials (2017 Statements) on the SOS website. The 2017 Statements can be found here. In the coming months, the Office of the Secretary of State (the Office) will also post online the financial disclosure statements for the previous five calendar years.  All statewide elected officials, state legislators, and state agency heads. . .are required to file an annual statement.


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