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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Martinez Veto Mania: She Gives No Reasons For Killing Popular Bills But Theories Abound, Plus: BernCo's Credibility Gap And Top ABQ Issues Pinpointed In Poll  

Gov. Martinez is now throwing around vetoes like her staff threw bottles from that El Dorado Hotel balcony. But it's not for the fun of it, believes reader Kelley Dupont:

Joe, I predict Susana spends the rest of her term making everyone as miserable as she is. She's not having fun anymore with this governor gig.

Not having fun, tired, frustrated, uncertain of the future, contempt for the Legislature and those good old standbys of bitter and vindictive are all reasons the armchair analysts give for the indiscriminate gubernatorial vetoes of bills backed by unanimous or near unanimous margins in both the House and Senate.

The frustration stems in part from some of the Senate Republicans joining with the Dems in support of raising taxes to resolve the budget crisis and also what she sees as the Senate's foot-dragging in confirming her appointments such as those for the UNM Board of Regents. Add into the mix the Senate override of her veto of the teacher sick leave bill and the governor getting busted on the Senate floor over a building lease deal that Senators of her own party said appeared to be a pay-to-play deal.

A question now is whether Martinez will blow up the budget negotiations just because she can. Another question: Is Martinez shadow Governor Jay McCleskey still operating in the shadows? Or is he off looking for greener pastures and leaving Susana to her own devices? Just wondering.

FRESHMAN INITIATION

Freshman state Rep. Daymon Ely is getting initiated into the ways of La Politica. He drew praise from liberals for his proposal to increase the top income tax rate on the state's one percenters by one percent, but then the long knives came out for Sandoval County lawmaker. From the liberal Daily Kos:

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democrats recently introduced a plan to automatically register every eligible voter when they obtain a driver’s license, unless they opt out. Despite Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature, the bill died a stunning death in committee when Democratic Reps. Debbie Rodella and Daymon Ely sided with Republicans to block it. Ely claimed that he voted against the bill because doing so would allow him to re-introduce an amended version, which he later did. However, the revised bill was so watered-down that it effectively was no longer an automatic registration measure whatsoever. 

There's been chatter on the Daily Kos about over finding an '18 primary opponent for Rio Arriba Rep. Rodella.

AMENDMENT DOWN

The proposed constitutional amendment that we and others see as possibly transformative in turning around the dismal state of this state bit the dust again in the state Senate and the fight appears over for this year.

The Senate Rules Committee on a 6 to 5 vote tabled the proposal that would have asked voters to allow a portion of the $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School Fund to be tapped for very early childhood programs.

Dem Senators Clemente Sanchez and President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen joined with the R's on committee to quash the amendment.

The amendment did score a victory in the House where it won approval earlier in the session.

CREDIBILITY GAP

BernCo credibility took a hit when it was revealed that while it's considering  a gross receipts tax hike that would reap the county $30 million, the actual budget deficit they are looking to plug is only $8 million. Never mind a tax boost, BernCo. Here's the money you need at least for a year or so:

. . . The county hasn’t committed to selling any specific buildings yet, but analysis presented by the county’s risk management division to commissioners in 2015 suggested that the county could earn about $11 million if it sold its two downtown Tijeras Ave. office buildings, Union Square, and its stake in the city-county building.

So nix the tax hike, sell the buildings and then use the year that buys you to find $8 million in budget savings. Is that really so hard?

NIX THE TAX?

Speaking of taxes, we blogged that perhaps some of the funding for the city and county libraries ought to be employed for after school programs. A number of readers rebelled against that, including this one:

RE: "The city should divert funding from public libraries to after school programs in the worst performing public schools."

I asked a veteran educator, a two decade middle school principal, to respond to your idea: "Not so good," she replied. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul never has improved our lot-or that of Peter or Paul." She continued: "Libraries are critical components in a functioning democracy--ever more more critical in these dangerous times." Maybe it was a misprint; it would have made more sense had it read: "Put more money into libraries to promote after-school programs." She nailed it, you missed it.

CRIME AND ECONOMY

No surprise here. An auto dialer poll conducted by the ABQ PR firm Carroll Strategies among 853 registered ABQ voters Feb. 28 pegged crime and the economy as the two big issues in this years mayoral contest.

82 percent said crime is getting worse in the city, 50 percent said a safer community was the most important issue to them; the second most important issue was the economy, mentioned by 22 percent of the respondents; 58 percent aid they believe their children and grandchildren will have to leave ABQ to find good jobs. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.9 percent.

The city election is October 3. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote a run-off between the top two vote-getters will be held a month later.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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