Thursday, February 09, 2017

Facebook Vs. Intel Jobs; It Isn't Even Close, Plus: Luring Susana; Is Closing A Loophole A Tax Hike Or Not? And: R's Missing The Target On Their Targeted US House Races? 

So we'll get about 50 permanent jobs from Facebook while just across the border at Chandler, Arizona Intel is taking a plant out of mothballs, investing $7 billion and hiring 3,000.

Once upon a time New Mexico was home to a booming Intel but for years it has been reducing jobs at its Rio Rancho plant. The last report we saw from April of '16 had the Rio Rancho facility employing only 1,900, down from well over 6,000 not that long ago. The number is probably much lower but Intel has stopped announcing it and the media has stopped asking. And that's how a manufacturing base just fades away (maybe some of the Rio Rancho Intel workers can make the short drive to Chandler?). . .

If they call it a tax loophole will Susana take the bait? That seems to be the ploy by both Dems and R's who are lined up in favoring of extending the state's gross receipts tax to big Internet players like Amazon and eBay. Currently only companies that have a physical presence in the state are subjected to the tax. But even the R's say that's unfair to the locals and extending the tax to all online sales would "be closing a loophole" not a tax boost.

The extension has won approval with bipartisan support from one House committee. They're trying to lure the Guv with that, but she has repeatedly said no tax increases under her watch. Besides, why does the Governor, who still probably wants to prance around the national stage in some form when she finishes her term in two years want to alienate big players like Amazon? We'll see. . .

Perhaps Susana can play with the new US education secretary as we expect top education boss Hanna Skandera to do soon. Take a look:

Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, along with family and companies associated with her, donated at least $12,000 to Susana Martinez’s campaign for re-election in 2014. Fast-forward to 2017 and DeVos became Donald Trump’s surprise nominee to head the US Dept. of Education and Martinez stepped in to help. On January 4 Gov. Susana Martinez‘s name appeared on a letter of recommendation for Betsy DeVos published in the Investor’s Business Daily – a magazine for business leaders, not educators.


Sen. Cervantes
We've talked about capital outlay and how it is desperately in need of reform. We've also carried comments from readers and State Auditor Tim Keller that unspent millions in capital outlay are still out there that could be used to plug the budget hole. Las Cruces area Dem state Senator Joe Cervantes responds:

Using fund balances and unexpended capital outlay provides a one-time and one year solution. But our budget needs for education are “recurring.” The blog suggestions to use capital outlay for funding current and recurring expenses would be analogous to taking a 15 year second mortgage on your house in order to buy groceries and pay utilities for a few months. It can be done, but is very poor financial judgment. For two years I have sponsored legislation to sweep up and reauthorize stale dollars, but would do so for alternative capital projects shovel ready. I have also introduced SB262 to reform the capital outlay process. But relying on capital outlay for recurring needs is shortsighted.

Our take: It's true that the capital outlay and other funds mentioned by Keller are for the most part "nonrecurring" which means they would be good for a year or two of plugging the budget. But with a Governor who wants no "revenue enhancement" at all, what's the choice? Should we shorten the school year because it would take nonrecurring revenue to prevent it? Most parents would say use whatever money you can find and deal with the long term funding later. Of course that is shortsighted but it is political malpractice of the highest order to shorten our kids' school day and school year when tens of millions of unspent dollars are there to prevent it.

As for Senator Cervantes' bill on capital outlay reform, it is co-sponsored by State Rep. Kelly Fajardo and can be seen here.


The national R's are out with their list of congressional seats they're "targeting" for 2018 and it stretches credulity. They say the northern US House seat held by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is on their list as is the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Lujan Grisham who is running for Governor. The problem is that the northern seat is one of the most Democratic in the nation and also happens to be held by the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee--Ben Ray Lujan---who is in charge of drafting a list of Dem targeted House seats. As for the Grisham seat, that's pretty much a goner for the R's. Once upon  at time they called it a swing seat, but its been Dem since 2008 and heavy Dem in the last two cycles. Don't be surprised if the two NM "targets" don't see any GOP cash thrown at them when the races really begin.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

website design by limwebdesign