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Monday, March 02, 2009

Guest Blog: The New Mexico SunCal TIDD is Wrong!

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes of Las Cruces about SB 249, the SunCal TIDD sponsored by Sen. Linda Lopez, which passed the NM Senate last Thursday by a vote of 29-9. Greg also sent this message to all members of the New Mexico House.

Our State Senate has failed New Mexicans. As Ben Franklin once concluded: "easy to be bought, if there was but a purchaser." This describes the leadership in the Senate with Senators Tim Jennings and John Arthur Smith.

The obnoxious Tax Increment Development District (TIDD) now goes to the House of Representatives where Henry Kiki Saavedra, Chairman of the Appropriations and Finance Committee, can't wait to bailout private companies SunCal and Westand Development with a $408 million bond issue for 28 years. This political trifecta has sold their souls to the SunCal and Westland lobbyists: Mark Fleisher, Arthur Hill, Allison Kuper, Dick Minzer, Robert Rivera, Marla Shoats, Joseph Thompson, Daniel Weaks, Vanessa Alarid and William Steadman. SunCal even feted Mr. Saavedra at an expensive picnic.

SunCal and Westland Development are promising to create 11,500 new jobs within the TIDD. Let's see what these companies did in California -- 30 bankruptcies, unpaid debts of millions to contractors and no new jobs. Taxpayers are being used to finance this land scheme. New Mexico is one of a few states that uses state taxes to bailout a development. In an overwhelming number of developments, the costs of the public infrastructure are shared between the private developer and the local government. However, Suncal will be free from this onerous expense.

To make matters even worse, the state is not guaranteed any presence on the TIDD Board and has no oversight of the use of the Gross Receipt Tax (GRT) funds. In addition, SunCal, which has a poor track record with its numerous debts and bankruptices, does not have to worry about that matter. TIDD's are political subdivisions of the state and will be taking on the debt in order to repay the developer. This borders on corruption.

Any state legislator who votes for this disgraceful bill will be held accountable. Recently it was calculated that the average per-capita income for all New Mexicans was $29,929, although rural per-capita income lagged at $26,081. The question is are we going to help Bruce Elieff, CEO of SunCal with an estimated worth of $300 million, or New Mexicans who are really suffering and deserve beneficial treatment?

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes. You can see a previous guest blog from him here

Note: Here's a list of the nine Senators who voted NO on SB 249:

Tim Eichenberg, D-Albuquerque
Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque
Steve Fischmann, D-Las Cruces
Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana
Eric Griego, D-Albuquerque
Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque
Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque
Michael Sanchez, D-Belen
Tim Wirth, D-Santa Fe

Two Republicans Were Absent:
Sue Wilson-Beffort, R-Albuquerque
Stuart Ingle, R-Portales

The rest of the Democratic and Republican Senators all voted in favor of the SunCal TIDD.

You can learn more about the deceptions and damages associated with the SunCal TIDDs here: www.tiddlies.com/. (h/t Peter)

The SunCal TIDD bill (SB 24) goes next to the House Business and Industry Committee. Please contact the legislators on the Committee to let them know your views on this tax giveaway. Also contact your member of the House. Click here to find your Representative and his or her contact info.

March 2, 2009 at 07:45 AM in Business, Corporatism, Government, Guest Blogger, NM Legislature 2009, Sprawl Development | Permalink


Did you see this blog page on Sun Cal Tidds.


Posted by: peter | Mar 2, 2009 8:48:08 AM

I hadn't see that, Peter. Thanks for the heads up. Excellent information. Perhaps the Democrats who are supporting the SunCal TIDD should give it a read.

Posted by: barb | Mar 2, 2009 9:00:33 AM

Yes, thank you peter that is an excellent source of information on the screwing the NM taxpayers are about to get thanks to some of the finest legislators (scarcasm on) money can buy. (scarcasm off)

Posted by: VP | Mar 2, 2009 10:00:09 AM

The clout of powerful lobbyists and large campaign contributions and other perks has become even more apparent during this session of the Legislature. It is shocking that so many Democrats voted for the Sun Cal tidd-even Jerry Ortiz y Pino.

Why are so many of us sitting idly by while this happens? This legislative session has been conducted like a snake oil sale. We are giving away our tax revenues for almost 30 years with little or no gain for taxpayers. This is legalized corrruption and the lawmakers perpetrating it are even more arrogant and smirky than in the past.

Wake up people. Speak up to your representatives in the House!

Posted by: Charlie | Mar 2, 2009 10:41:31 AM

We should write every Dem who voted in the Senate for this atrocity and ask why they did it!

Posted by: JJ | Mar 2, 2009 11:22:06 AM

Be sure to take a moment to contact members of the House Voters and Elections Committee and your House member too. This is a bill that needs to be stopped.

Posted by: Old Dem | Mar 2, 2009 11:52:25 AM

They even have Ray M. Baca of the NM Building and Construction Trades Council making TV ads for them. Is there anything in the TIDDS that would favor Union contractors, like the Prevailing Wage provision in Federal and State contracts? I doubt it.

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Mar 2, 2009 1:54:57 PM

Someone help me here. I don't see how this will cost taxpayers anything. Don't they have to build the roads first adn bring the companies in? The west side needs help and I don't see anything being done now.

Posted by: Don Daniels | Mar 3, 2009 8:02:22 PM

The problem is with tying up hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars for 28 years to pay to help a private California developer to make a profit. Don't you think there are other uses that will be more important for our tax dollars for almost three decades?

There is also a problem with there not being enough water to serve the number of houses this sprawl developer wants to build.

Even worse, if Sun Cal goes into bankruptcy as it has on dozens of recent projects, the land and bonds will be tied up in expensive litigation for years.

Posted by: Jerry P. | Mar 3, 2009 9:00:17 PM

Corporate Welfare,
shame on Linda Lopez and Sen. Bernadette sanchez for proposing this during these difficult financial times. 4000 acre development. this works out to over $100,000 per acre. ARE YOU KIDDING. GIVE THIS MONEY TO THE PEOPLE. What happened to the ethics reform bill, oops , they must have been too busy working on how to sneak this by us common folks! I wont be voting for these folks

Posted by: Westside Voter | Mar 31, 2009 3:51:00 PM