Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DFA-DFNM Meetup Group to Close, DFNM Blog NOT Closing

Just a little clarification. Recently an email was sent out stating the DFA-DFNM Meetup Group was closing. Yes it is closing, there will be no more DFNM meetups. No more yelling and laughing at the UU church or at the Page One. No more debates, gosh we had some good ones too. Time moves on, I am in Massachusetts now and the expense of keeping the meetup was not possible for me any longer.

However, this website is still up. I do not plan on closing this site, there is lots and lots of valuable info on this blog. Although I have not had time to post I plan on posting at least some soon.

I am watching all the goings on in the Land of Enchantment and miss not being there helping. But alas the King John Arthur Smith ardent non willingness to jump start the NM economy has me frustrated. Here is Johnny holding fast to the rainy day fund, wake up Smith it is raining. People are having to leave the state because there are no jobs. Get construction jobs going! Use the rainy day fund for a NM WPA program for 2013.

I know, I know, even if some creative rainy day fund use was passed by some miracle in the Leg., Martinez would veto it. But geez really again this year nothing?

My question is when is enough enough? Will the rainy day fund be tapped when a public building falls down due to negligence of the legislature of no funding for repairs?

Imagine the elected officials, who work for us, imagine if the first bill they voted for each session was the State Budget including the capital outlay. Yep vote on the state budget and Capital outlay prior to their own feed bill. Stop the games people lives and families depend on it.

February 19, 2013 at 08:04 PM in Economy, Populism, Jobs, NM Legislature 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Last Post from 8522 Flower Place

Folks, This is the last of thousands of posts from this house. Barb and I have rented this house since July 1999. It does not seem possible. Barb started this great blog right here. So it is sad for me to write the last post from this internet connection and this house.

As I have said previously I am moving forward with my life. When I saw a FB friend put up an article this morning that Massachusetts has progressed greatly with solar energy installations, it helped me feel I am going in the right direction.

The house here is a total mess, most things packed, most important stuff left out til the final hours. It is with a very heavy heart I leave Abq and NM. I feel as though I am in denial over how big of a deal this really is. Barb and I lived here in NM since 1993. Wow. Barb passed away in this house. I nursed Barb back from many illnesses and her final weeks of life right here in this house. I could go on and on.

The facts are that I have not had full time work since Oct. 2010. I am one of the individuals that has to leave the state. Different from what Rep. Pearce said in his speech to the legislators, I do want to work, and there are no positions, and yes I could pass a pee test. You see Mr Pearce that kind of flippant attitude is toxic, you are no leader, you are a follower of the worse kind. You should not be in office representing people if you lack basic understanding of serious matters facing your constituents.

The economy here in NM is based on federal money. There must be cuts to all programs, ALL. That means the labs and Kirtland and the other bases in the state. The ripple affect of these cuts will be devastating to the NM economy as it is structured now. Imagine even a 5% cut in the monies that are sent to the federal labs and bases.

It is a shame that with proper leadership NM could be the leader in solar energy production, all things solar. This will never happen while all the fossil fuel dinosaurs are still roaming the state. The republicans and some democrats are bought off by the oil and gas industry. Just a fact.

To do a huge solar build out across the state for all public buildings would put hundreds if not thousands to work. Designers/ architects/ contractors on and on all working for a huge effort, and after installed we all would see savings.

Going door to door on my race to be a state representative, there was enthusiasm and positive response no matter party affiliation when talking about solar build out of our jointly owned buildings. We all would save money. We would have people back to work. I could possibly have a good job again right now.

So it is with a heavy heart I leave this great state of NM. I am going to go live with my sister and brother-in-law for a while back in northern Massachusetts. I spent down all I have over these last 28 long months. There are jobs back east. Architectural jobs, private money, stimulating the economy. Solar initiatives, health care, gay marriage, the atlantic ocean, my family, and most importantly jobs.

Don't forget the Hurricane Sandy too. The hurricane blasted through the NE just before the election. The Congress recently voted on funds for the recovery of that area. But not Steve Pearce again, he voted against the funds to help people rebuild their lives. That is the new life being dealt out by the tea party rush limbaugh lovers - Hope nothing bad happens in NM CD2. No fires, no drought, no flooding, because who ever votes Pearce in should also bear no help from the rest of this Country.

So now back to my journey for work, and to get my life on back on track.

There is no money in the hard work of providing this blog. People take it for granted, and the models for earning a low income living doing this blog is still not possible almost 8 years after Barb starting this. The plan is to keep posting, but with no pressure of thinking I have to get the hits up, I have to write more and better, I have to be smarter and wittier, blah blah blah. I am going to go earn money the way I know how to, by working hard on buildings. I will keep posting. Heck I may even turn around when I get to Boston and just drive all the way back, just to keep the pressure on the republicans and democrats that refuse to enter in the 21st century. Who knows where the journey will lead. I want no regrets, I want no resentments, I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Carpe Diem with love

January 23, 2013 at 09:37 PM in DFNM - Albq, Economy, Populism, Jobs | Permalink | Comments (11)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Democrats Deliver on Jobs for NM - Agreement Should Clear Spaceport America for Takeoff

Democrats showing this NM Legislature 60 day session will not be business as usual. The leaders of both Houses are immediately addressing matters to get jobs going in this State. No waiting for 60 days to act on matters that are needed today. Let's hope Gov. Martinez steps right up too, and signs the coming legislation. 

Democrats were swept into office in November on a promise to focus on creating good jobs for New Mexico, and it's a promise we are working hard to keep.

Today Democrats in the legislature announced an agreement to keep the Spaceport on track to become a major economic boon for New Mexico!

Video and Statements below are from the NM Senate Dems

Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D) Valencia & Bernalillo, District 29, and House Speaker Ken Martinez (D) Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia District 69, announced today that Virgin Galactic and New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement regarding proposed legislation for Spaceport America. At the urging of Majority Leader Sanchez and Speaker Martinez, the two sides resolved their differences regarding liability issues.

Without the legislation, proponents argued that Virgin Galactic and potential occupants of the Spaceport would favor other states with limited-liability laws. The New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association expressed concern that limiting liability would protect manufacturers who produced substandard parts without fear of consequences. The Trial Lawyers advocate for consumers and public safety.

More than $200 million has already been invested in the facility located near Truth or Consequences.

“Too much has been invested by both the state and Virgin Galactic to abandon this project,” said Majority Leader Sanchez. “The potential economic benefits for New Mexico demanded that serious negotiations be conducted to get beyond the impasse. It is in New Mexico’s best interests that the Spaceport project moves forward quickly, with as much consumer protection as possible.”

At the request of the two legislative leaders, representatives from Virgin Galactic and NM Trial Lawyers Association have reached an agreement.

“This agreement is the result of many months of hard work,” said Speaker Martinez. “We encouraged both parties to sit face-to-face and work through their differences. Since they each had valid points, compromise was the only solution.

“They should be proud of the work they have accomplished for New Mexico.”

The proposed legislation will mirror the laws of Colorado and Florida that limit the liability of operators, manufacturers, and suppliers. An important addition is a requirement that each entity maintain liability insurance in order to qualify under the Act.

The proposed legislation, based on the agreement, is currently being drafted. It is expected that the bill will be introduced within the next several days.

“I am very happy that we can move this issue forward and begin a clear path to getting the Spaceport up and running,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen, (D) Dona Ana, District 38, who sponsored a bill last year to limit liability. “Many people in southern New Mexico, as well as the rest of the state, are excited to see this get going.”

January 22, 2013 at 07:20 PM in Economy, Populism, Jobs, NM Legislature 2013, Spaceport | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez Delivers Democratic State of the State Response: 2013

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez delivered the following Dem response to the Gov State of the State speech. This was delivered on January 15, 2013, the first day of the 2013 Legislature. Note, video of speech is at the end of post. Thank you to NMinFocus for video.

New Mexico just concluded our Centennial year – 100 years of statehood in the United States of America. In fact, today marks the inauguration of our first governor as a state.

Then, like now, New Mexicans chose a divided government, though at the time the tables were turned. The new Democratic governor faced a Republican-controlled legislature; yet, they came together to grow New Mexico far beyond what anyone at the time could have imagined.

In his first inaugural address, our first Democratic governor outlined a vision for our new state where fair taxation and quality public education would bring prosperity to its citizens.[1] Coming together, Republicans and Democrats laid a foundation for a new state. We are challenged to finish the work they began. For most of the past 100 years, we have succeeded in living up to that challenge.

But few of us were in the mood to celebrate in the past year. New Mexicans are hurting.While our neighbors in states like Nevada and Colorado are getting back to work, our family and friends in New Mexico continue to lose their jobs. In the past year alone, more than 4800 New Mexican workers – almost 100 a week - lost their jobs[2], along with the dignity that comes from working.

By the time this new legislative session ends 60 days from now, more than 700 more New Mexico families will have joined the ranks of the unemployed.

The legislature’s attempt to stimulate our economy and create jobs was frustrated by the governor last year when she vetoed more than 190 local projects – and the jobs that come with them - from a bi-partisan capital outlay bill.

But avoiding a veto is no guarantee that signed legislation will be implemented. This administration has stalled the construction of a much-needed substance abuse treatment center for women and children that the legislature appropriated last year. Although the project was not vetoed with the other capital outlay projects, the administration has refused to authorize the sale of $5 million in bonds for the project. We encourage the governor to show her commitment to the serious issue of alcohol and substance abuse by moving this project forward.

Her actions and inactions have failed to provide opportunities to address a devastating problem and generate support for the comprehensive middle-class job growth New Mexico needs.

A comprehensive approach to putting people back to work must focus on the majority of everyday New Mexicans who have not and will not benefit from corporate tax breaks. That’s why Democrats are proposing a comprehensive jobs package that raises the statewide minimum wage, expands tax credits for Working Families, and ensures that it is never cheaper for an out-of-state company to do business in New Mexico than it is for our neighbors who built our Main Streets.

Any plan to put people back to work cannot begin and end with tax breaks that benefit non-New Mexican companies more than our homegrown Mom and Pop shops.

In the last session, the legislature passed a bi-partisan bill that lowered the corporate tax rate and leveled the playing field for New Mexico small businesses. Under the bill, all out-of-state corporations would pay the same taxes as their New Mexico competitors. It eliminated the loophole that allowed “big box” out-of-state companies to avoid paying New Mexican taxes.

Sadly, the governor vetoed that legislation as well. But we will not give up. Democrats will continue to try to get the governor’s signature so that local businesses are better able to compete with national corporations.

But building a more attractive business climate for New Mexico takes more than tax breaks. It takes providing sufficient water to meet the demands of a growing economy. Water has always been a scarce resource in our state. With the most recent lawsuit filed by Texas, we must work together to preserve our agricultural traditions while allowing us to grow into the future. This is not a partisan issue. It is a New Mexican issue that affects all of us and future generations.

In addition to having adequate resources, CEOs considering to relocate here look at the ability of our schools to teach their children and train future workers. The owners of homegrown businesses expect nothing less.

Democrats understand that there is a connection between tax cuts for the rich and low performing schools for the poor. The choice to expand tax giveaways for the rich comes at the expense of funding our schools and training tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

Every student should have the opportunity to succeed in a New Mexico school. But educating our children does not begin on their first day in a classroom. Studies have proven that the first five years of a child’s life are critical in their development. So we will again sponsor legislation to fully fund Pre-K education from the state’s permanent school fund so that we don’t wait on our children to reach third grade before we provide them help.

The path to success also includes training and preparing the teachers who will instill in our children the knowledge to succeed. New Mexico will need 2400 more teachers by 2020.[3] But we can’t recruit those teachers if we continue to insist they spend more time testing than teaching and blame them for all of our problems.

My wife, Lynn, is a public school teacher. Let me tell you, it is no easy task being a teacher. It is no fun to clean up after a sick child nor is it easy to counsel the victim of a bus stop bully. The challenges of our students are as unique as they are, and our teachers need the flexibility and resources to address each and every one properly.

Unfortunately, we have cut millions from our classrooms, resulting in fewer teachers, lower salaries and larger classes – none of which are a part of any formula for success. A recent report by New Mexico Voices for Children showed that cuts to education have been among the deepest in the country since 2011 – yet another list New Mexico should never be on.

While the governor’s budget returns some money to education, little of this new money will end up in our classrooms where it belongs. We propose a different direction that protects a parent’s right to have a voice in their children’s education and a teacher's opportunity to teach to the student, not to the test. That’s why in previous years we have resisted plans to let out-of-state consultants and appointed political bureaucrats interject their judgment for that of parents and professional educators.

We also know that our children can’t succeed if they are too sick to learn. Today, more than 150,000 New Mexicans –including 50,000 children- go without affordable access to the most basic health care. But last week, the governor took an important step towards closing that gap by granting conditional approval for an expansion of Medicaid to cover our poorest neighbors.

Expanding Medicaid was the right decision for New Mexico. In addition to ensuring access to health care for our most vulnerable neighbors, the new health care jobs generated are equivalent to adding an entirely new national lab – not an insignificant fact as federal investment in our labs continues to shrink. But those who will rely on Medicaid cannot count on conditional healthcare. Nor can the new health care workers we will train. The federal government has made a commitment to fund the expansion and we should do the same for those who will soon count on it.

The political climate in Santa Fe today is much different than 101 years ago today. Though Republicans and Democrats had spent decades fighting over statehood, once achieved, the Republican legislature and Democratic governor came together to do what was right for the new-New Mexico.

New Mexico has grown impatient with partisan battles in both Washington and Santa Fe. Last year was the least productive session since 1976[4]. Just 77 bills were passed, and 13 of those were vetoed. New Mexico has spent the past two years marred down in the political back-and-forth that has also enveloped Washington. Predictably, the results are the same. We challenge the governor and our legislative colleagues on the right to set aside partisan attitudes and move quickly to put New Mexicans back to work.

For two years we have made numerous attempts to compromise to reform our drivers’ license system. No doubt, there are those who will continue to prefer playing politics with the issue instead of fixing it. Democrats are not among them and will, once again, offer a hand in compromise to resolve this issue. While many have argued for years that New Mexico was alone, or nearly so, in issuing licenses to non-citizens, the tide is turning – in no small part to DREAM Act-type legislation by President Obama permitting undocumented children to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation to a country they have never known. To date, at least a half-dozen states have announced plans to do so and many more are considering it. It is time to settle this issue in New Mexico once and for all and Democrats are prepared to do it.

Focusing on divisive wedge issues does nothing to address the serious challenges we face, including job creation, pension solvency and school safety.

The heroic sacrifices of educators in Newtown can never be repaid, but it shows just why no investment in education yields bad returns. But our teachers should never be asked to be soldiers in our schools.

Our state has a proud heritage of gun ownership but that heritage has always included a duty for those who choose to own a firearm to do so responsibly. There will, no doubt, be spirited debate on this issue in the coming weeks, and there are some common sense proposals which deserve consideration by those on both sides of the issue. But, each conversation should begin and end with a consideration for how it will prevent the tragedies we have seen in Aurora, Virginia Tech and, now, Newtown, from occurring in Los Lunas, Jal or NMSU.

Finally, no one goes into public service with the goal of getting rich. However, no one should expect that their salaries will decrease. For the last five years, public servants have suffered cuts in their take-home pay to balance the budget. Now as we recover, we need to stop that trend.

Our teachers have also answered our call to help ride out the economic downturn. It is not too much to expect that teachers who taught and tended to our children for 25 or 30 years will receive the pension we promised them when they first signed on. That was the contract and we have a responsibility to keep it. That’s why we will make pension solvency a top priority of this legislature for all of our public servants, be they educators who teach our children, police officers who protect our homes or license clerks in the MVD.

That first governor, speaking in his first inaugural address 101 years ago said this of the politics of the time and of times to come: “As we look into the future, bright hopes of promise appear to some, and dark forebodings may dim the horizon of others. The past is history; the present is the dawn of the future. It is to the future we look and that future will be what we make it.”

We could not agree more. The present is the dawn of the future. Like our predecessors a century before us, we have weathered hard times and are ready for a more prosperous future. Where some see a bleak future for growth and revitalization, we see a chance to reinvest in our middle class and Main Streets. When our grandchildren’s children look back on us a 100 years from now, let us be sure that they see this year as the one where we recommitted to the vision of fair taxes, equal opportunity and strong public education on which our state was founded a century ago.

[1] http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=460
[2
] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p.12
[3] https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/admin/gsipub/htmlarea/uploads/lmrnov12.pdf , p. 9
[4] http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/02/21/news/legislature-passed-77-bills-least-since-1976.htm

Video above is from NMinFocus Youtube Channel. Thank you NM in Focus!

January 16, 2013 at 09:35 PM in Democrat, Economy, Populism, Education, NM Legislature 2013, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why is NM Job Growth Non Existent? A Response to Abq Jrnl Winthrop Q

Dear Winthrop, You are one of my favorite writers for the Journal. You always offer a less slanted objective then what the paper is known for. In your piece today regarding job growth you suggest readers offer their suggestions of how to improve job growth in NM. Knowing the Journal is selective over what they publish I figured I would respond here to your request.

There is an elephant in the room you neglect to mention in the article and listing of "It's" (ex. It's the Labor Pool?). It's the war and the size of the defense budget.

It's the cost of the wars we have been in since October 7, 2001, for 11 years and counting. The Afghan and Iraq wars have cost our country 2 billion dollars a week. $2bil per WEEK. Staggering costs, no one mentions this cost anymore. How much is the cost of the Afghanistan war now? Last I heard it is costing 1.5bil per week.

These are enormous numbers of which no one mentions. No politician, no media. The real cost is calculated out in trillions, which includes taking care of the wounded soldiers for years and the hard costs of these wars in dollars expended, hard earned dollars which could have been used in this country

The following article featured on TruthAlliance.net dated July 17, 2012 starts to expose some of the reason we are screwed as far as job growth here.

120717-khan-bani-saad-prison-315p_photoblog600
Photo above is “The Khan Bani Saad Correctional Facility, about 12 miles northeast of Baghdad, is seen with unused building materials nearby. The site is a chronicle of U.S. government waste, misguided planning and construction shortcuts costing $40 million. The official in charge of monitoring America’s $51 billion effort to reconstruct Iraq has estimated that $6 billion to $8 billion of that amount was lost to waste, fraud and abuse.”

The article goes on to say “In Friday’s report, Bowen said the exact funds lost to fraud and waste “can never be known,” largely because of poor record-keeping by the U.S. agencies involved in the effort. These include the Departments of State and Defense, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development.”

And these articles from Judicial Watch: “Billions for Iraq reconstruction lost to fraud", highlighting an audit done by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) dated July 13, 2012. And this arictle The largest theft of funds in history. And in 2008 this article "Pervasive fraud and waste in Iraq reconstruction efforts. “

So here we have it we were ripped off and no one has the will to stand up and say this, the political will or the media will. Where does 2 bil per week go for years and years? We at DFNM have been asking this question for years. Mr Quigley we suggest you look into this and see what you come up with, just a suggestion. See if you as an american citizen can find where this gross amount of money could have gone. How could we spend 2 billion dollars a week? Let's see a breakdown of costs for one week in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have worked on public design and construction projects most of my adult life and I know when I work for the US or State government, I am held accountable for every dollar and to every dollar for the work I produce. And if the media or regulatory agencies find out otherwise there is hell to pay.

To surmise the cost of these wars at 2 billion a week has destroyed our prospect of jobs for years to come. The elephant in the room is the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars, the cost of the actual war and the cost of the reconstruction both of these having no restrictions for costs and billions of dollars of waste and fraud.

Our military spending is totally out of control. We as a country have no money for other matters and concerns, like taking care of our seniors and building schools for our children. All our tax dollars go to the War Machine, if you are not part of the war machine business you have no work, both in the public sector and the private sector.

What to do now? Get out of Afghanistan. Stop spending our tax dollars over there. Let’s start a reconstruction effort here in this country. Let’s start with New Jersey and New York.

And if I was a real journalist and not an architect pretending to be a journalist while looking for real work myself, this story of the fleecing of America from 2001 to 2012 would be my passion to expose. To have it be known in every household what has occurred these critical years, and the lack of accountability of our elected officials and media.

PS. Please take a look at the SIGIR audit linked to above and here for your ease, just this report alone only 31 pages long is so light weight as to the corruption and robbery that has taken place. Meanwhile many people go yet another day without full employment.

December 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM in Afghanistan, Economy, Populism, Iraq War, Jobs, Military Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 26, 2012

New Mexico’s Wealthiest Has Almost Ten Times More Income than Poorest

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released the following report: Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends the week before our week of major consumption. Who wants to read such dismal facts the week before eating and spending abundance?  

New Mexico has Highest Income Inequality between Richest and Poorest

Nm income chart 3

From the CBPP report: Why the growth in wage inequality? The biggest factors:

  1. "Wages at the bottom and middle of the wage scale have been stagnant or have grown only modestly for much of the last three decades.  The wages of the very highest-paid employees, in contrast, have grown significantly."
  2. "The erosion weakness of wage growth for workers at the bottom and middle of the income scale reflects a variety of factors.  Over the last 30 years, the nation has seen increasingly long periods of high unemployment, more intense competition from foreign firms, a shift in the mix of jobs from manufacturing to services, and advances in technology that have changed jobs.  The share of workers in unions also fell significantly.  At the same time, the share of the workforce made up of households headed by women — which tend to have lower incomes — has increased.  Government policies such as the failure to maintain the real value of the minimum wage and to adequately fund supports for low-wage workers as well as changes to the tax code that favored the wealthy have also contributed to growing wage inequality."
  3. "Government actions — and, in some cases, inaction — have contributed to the increase in wage and income inequality in most states.  Examples include deregulation and trade liberalization, the weakening of the safety net, the lack of effective laws concerning the right to collective bargaining, and the declining real value of the minimum wage.  In addition, changes in federal, state, and local tax structures and benefit programs have, in many cases, accelerated the trend toward growing inequality emerging from the labor market."

  Nm income chart 1

States Must Play an Important Role

More from the report: "Growing income inequality not only raises basic issues of fairness, but also adversely affects the nation’s economy and political system.  While it results to a significant degree from economic forces that are largely outside state policymakers’ control, state policies can mitigate the effects of these outside forces.  State options include:

  • Raise, and index, the minimum wage.  The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage is 13 percent lower than at the end of the 1970s.  Its value falls well short of the amount necessary to meet a family’s needs, especially in states with a high cost of living.  States can help raise wages for workers at the bottom of the pay scale by enacting a higher state minimum wage and indexing it to ensure continued growth in the future. (DFNM note: From the hard work of our Local Ole and other organizations we accomplished this bullet point in Abq.)
  • Improve the unemployment insurance system.  Unemployment insurance helps prevents workers who lose their jobs from falling into poverty and keeps them connected to the labor market.  Yet some states have cut benefits deeply.  These states should restore those cuts and others should build on recent efforts to fix outmoded rules that bar many workers from accessing benefits.
  • Make state tax systems more progressive.  The federal income tax system is progressive — that is, it narrows income inequalities — but has become less so over the past two decades as a result of changes such as the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.  Nearly all state tax systems, in contrast, are regressive.  This is because states rely more on sales taxes and user fees, which hit low-income households especially hard, than on progressive income taxes.  (The income inequality data in this report reflect the effects of federal taxes but not state taxes.)
    As state revenues slowly recover from the recent recession, some states are cutting taxes.  The bulk of the tax cuts enacted this year, however, disproportionately benefited higher-income families.  If these trends continue, states will make their tax systems even more regressive and diminish their ability to restore the large spending cuts of the last few years.
  • Strengthen the safety net.  States play a major role in delivering social safety net assistance, which pushes back against growing inequality by helping low-wage workers move up the income ladder and shielding the nation’s most vulnerable citizens from the long-term effects of poverty.
    There are a host of options states can consider to strengthen their safety nets.  States can create a more streamlined process for enrolling in work supports such as food stamps and child care as they retool their health insurance systems under the Affordable Care Act.  States also can boost the prospects of poor children by increasing temporary cash assistance to the neediest families in state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs.  Improving access to SNAP (food stamps) and providing assistance with rent can help low-income families afford food and housing.
    In addition, states can improve the child care system by providing child care subsidies with affordable co-payments and by investing in quality early care and education programs as well as after-school programs.
  • Protect workers’ rights. States can raise wages by protecting workers right to bargain collectively and by strengthening and enforcing laws and regulations to prevent abusive employer practices that deprive workers of wages that they are legally owed.

While these are all useful steps, federal as well as state policies will have to play an important role if low- and middle-income households are to stop receiving steadily smaller shares of the income pie."

Nm income chart 2

Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps

First we need bootstraps. The small government naysayers are now saying "see all the poor want are govt handouts." No, what the poor want is an attempt at a slice of the pie.

Dignity

In the great depression dignity was something FDR realized existed and he went about providing jobs with govt monies so as the workers could work again and provide for themselves and their families. People want to work, people have great pride in their work. Raising taxes on those that have become filthy rich over the past decades should be first on any elected officials mind. Period. Raise the taxes and create new jobs building great things, high speed railroads, solar farms, wind farms, senior care centers, state of the art schools. We have the money we need the political will.

November 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM in Economy, Populism, Government, Green Economy, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Small Business Owners on Bush Tax Cuts, Fiscal Cliff: “It's Time to Listen to Main St., Not Wall St.

The following article is from the Main Street Alliance. The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state and locally based small business groups that creates opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.

As Congress reconvened Tuesday for its lame duck session, small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance network sent a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other congressional leaders outlining a small business agenda for the fiscal showdown coming in the lame duck session of the 112th Congress. Main Street business owners called for an end to the top-bracket Bush tax cuts, urged Congress to protect middle class programs that strengthen the small business customer base, and pushed for additional revenue options.

This small business agenda presents a sharp counterpoint to the positions staked out by corporate executives and Wall Street CEOs, including the “Fix the Debt” CEO council and the Tax Relief Coalition, ahead of the lame duck session of Congress scheduled to start next week.

The small business letter reads, in part:

If we’ve learned anything from the economic forecasts about the so-called “fiscal cliff,” it is that austerity policies won’t work any better in America than they have in Europe. Austerity-driven budget cuts won’t create an economic miracle, they’ll force our economy back into recession and kick off a downward spiral.

While Wall Street CEOs who have bet their futures on overseas markets may be content with a program of deep domestic cuts, for small businesses that rely on a local customer base here at home this fact holds true: we can’t cut our way to prosperity. We need to grow our way to prosperity. Growth requires investment and investment requires resources. This is why Congress must put meaningful new revenue options on the table in the lame duck session.

As a country, we’ve tried listening to Wall Street. That strategy hasn’t worked for most Americans and it hasn’t worked for small businesses. While the banks got bailouts and Wall Street rebounded to post new record profits, small businesses took it on the chin. It’s time for a change. It’s time to listen to Main Street.

The full letter is available here.

November 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM in Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Democracy in New Mexico Election 2012

Democracy-logo3
That is exactly what we did on Tuesday November 6th, we exercised our right of being a Democracy in action. Here is the definition of Democracy in websters dictionary:
a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority
b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Yes, I am disappointed I did not win my own bid for the NM State House of Representative District 30, but the people of HD 30 spoke and I end this race grateful and wiser. I am grateful for the support of so many friends, I had so many people helping me. I am grateful for so many people within HD 30 opening their doors and thoughts to me on this journey. I am wiser that these are not simple times and I learned more people are hurting and disenfranchised than what I even thought.

I am still going to fight the good fight. In the words of Paul Wellstone and something Eric Griego would remind us all of often: We all do better when we all do better.

Representative Ken Martinez had a great quote in the Journal today: "New Mexicans have rejected the politics of personal destruction and instead have chosen the Democratic agenda of strengthening our working families."

Personal destruction in lieu of leadership, ideas, facts and solutions. Let's not forget that the quest for supreme power is vested in us, the people. Even when hundreds of thousands of dollars are meant to sway us, the power is still in our hands not the people we elect, now more than ever. The democrats held on to and even gained a couple seats in the NM State House of Representatives, that is a success for the people of NM.

Some of the races have not been finalized: Marci Blaze is still fighting to represent the people of HD 23. Marci endured a vicious, money invested onslaught race and was attacked over and over by Republican Paul Pacheco. That district remains tight and is having an automatic recount.

Democrat Liz Thomson won House Seat 24 against incumbent Republican Conrad James. Emily Kane (HD15) won, Stephanie Richards (HD43) won in Los Alamos, Christine Trujillo (HD25) won, Georgene Louis (HD26) won and Patricia Roybal-Caballero (HD13) won, just to mention a few of the great women who will be serving the people of NM. Women stepped up and ran for office across the state and across the country, these strong women were coached and supported by other strong women and men.

Other strong women who won are Karen Montoya for PRC, and Chief Judge Barbara Vigil will be our next Supreme Court Judge, as well as Monica Zamora well be our next Court of Appeals Judge.

Thank goodness Senator Michael Sanchez survived his vicious race. Costing countless of thousands of dollars spent by Reform NM PAC Jay McClesky on behalf of the Martinez administration.

A huge congratulations to Martin Heinrich, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Ben Ray Lujan your work is going to be very important shaping this countries future. And I believe you are the leaders to do just that.

Lastly, Thank the Universe that Obama won for four more years. Our country having Romney as the leader for four years was frightening. What did that man really believe? What do any of the republicans really believe at any level of government anymore?

The money spent all together on all the races around the country to try to sway the will of the people could feed a small nation, like ours.

Let's remember there are many honest, hardworking, play it fair, people who deserve huge kudos! Kudos for all the efforts to the many volunteers and staff and caring people who worked so hard for our Democracy for this critical election of 2012. Democracy is not about money and destruction. Democracy is about we the people.

November 8, 2012 at 06:27 PM in 2012 General Election, Democrat, Economy, Populism, Election Reform & Voting, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Michelle Lujan Grisham Highlights Vision for Middle Class During Candidate Debate

Opponent Embraces Ryan Budget, Has No Plan for Jobs

Democratic Congressional Nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham delivered a strong debate performance on Sunday, successfully highlighting why she is the only candidate with a vision and a plan to restore the middle class and stop Republicans from gutting Medicare.

“Too many New Mexicans are worried about keeping their job or even having a job; too many people are going without health care; and too many of our children don’t have the same educational opportunities that we once had,” Lujan Grisham said during today’s debate, hosted by Congregation Albert.

“I’m running for Congress to take responsibility for putting the middle class first.”

Michelle’s Republican opponent kicked off the debate embracing Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and his plan to gut Medicare. Ryan’s plan would also slash funding for Sandia Labs by 10 percent. When asked about maintaining Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Janice Arnold-Jones said: “I support Paul Ryan’s approach.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham said she will stand up to the Tea Party Republicans in Congress who are using the Ryan budget as a blueprint for gutting Medicare and waging a war against the middle class.

“I believe that the Ryan budget…walks away from the most vulnerable of New Mexicans and Americans,” Lujan Grisham said.

“Sure you’ve got to make tough decisions,” Lujan Grisham said. “But you don’t make those on the backs of the people who are less fortunate. You don’t ask the middle class to do more. And you don’t pretend that the very social programs that we’re talking about haven’t in fact lifted a great number of Americans out of povertyArnold-Jones also downplayed job creation as a priority for Congress, saying her top priority will be passing a budget.

As a small business owner, Lujan Grisham emphasized repeatedly during the debate that her top priority in Congress will be to create jobs for New Mexicans.

“Jobs have got to be the number one priority,” Lujan Grisham said, noting her successful efforts to create jobs as a Bernalillo County Commissioner. “We’ve got to get the economy moving. Too many people are waiting for us.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham said she will work to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and close corporate loopholes that allow companies to ship jobs overseas.

September 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM in Economy, Populism, Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day! Labor Day! Break Free, Break Through the Walls of the Status Quo Criminal Class

Below is a great post that Barb did for May Day 2010. It is totally still right on for Labor Day 2012!


Just watch it

My forebears came in from Poland, Germany and Norway through Ellis Island when there were no immigration quotas. They worked like dogs at the jobs Americans didn't want, like almost all immigrants do. I am the beneficiary of their courage and hard labor. And so is our nation.

I grew up in Chicago, a city built by immigrants of every ethnicity. Most of today's America was built by immigrants, not the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims. We built on what was built for centuries by slaves and indentured servants, not the ancestors of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Immigrants and racial, ethnic and other minorities have always been our strength and our salvation. They work hard and they unite to stand up to the corrupt forces of the status quo. Think unions, think every civil rights and liberation and reform movement that ever emerged in the U.S.

Now the forces of the status quo and their frightened and misguided followers want to stop all this. They always do, whether it's been freed slaves or immigrants from Ireland or Italy or Eastern Europe or the Caribbean or Africa or Mexico or wherever. The very word 'conservative' means to keep things as they are because I am the beneficiary of power, position and wealth by my very bloodline and/or longstanding connections. The irony is that today's right wingers and teabaggers are often victims of the greedy, insular forces of the status quo, yet they defend the very forces that oppress them, convinced that it's immigrants or minorities or liberals or unions or a government that serves the needs of ordinary people that's to blame for their penury.

Today, on May Day, a day for celebrating the labor movement, a day when immigration reform marches are taking place all over the land, I say fuck the forces of White only and English only. Fuck the forces that scapegoat people willing to take risks and work hard to provide for their families. Fuck the forces that use vile propaganda to stir up hatred and reward ignorance.

Fuck the forces that defend the status quo ruling class so huge blobs of money can keep flowing to those who sit on their asses and "invest" in scams and manipulate and steal and deregulate oil drilling so that our entire Gulf coast -- including all its wildlife, its working people, its entire ecosystem and economic infrastructure -- is going to be devastated and entire ways of life destroyed so BP could save the money it would take to employ technologies to help prevent that. Fuck the forces that keep arms flowing all over the world and eternal wars going to feed the war profiteers and enable the usurping of natural resources all over the globe. Fuck the forces that destroy native cultures and whole communities and huge parts of the world so they can keep themselves and their "investors" in the money.

Immigrants, whether documented or not, and minorities of every kind are not the enemy, are not the terrorists. Our real enemies and terrorists are in power either upfront or behind the scenes in connection with -- or bought off by -- every "deregulated" financial and corporate undertaking that is raping our nation and nations around the globe for obscene profits. They kill and maim and torture people. They kill ecosystems. They kill education. They kill health care. They kill children. They bankrupt governments and homeowners. They kill wildlife and plant life. They poison the seas and the groundwater and the very air we breathe. It is they who must be arrested and jailed and convicted and stopped in their tracks, not families fleeing from utter poverty caused by all the "free" trade and monetary policy scams that have made slave labor the preferred option for the corporate and banking interests who call all the shots.

Today, on May Day, let's start pointing the finger in no uncertain terms at our real enemies. Let's work towards uniting all the hated minorities - the black and brown and yellow ones, the gay and bi and trans ones, the people who care about the earth and human dignity and the animals and justice -- and use our union to go after the bloodsuckers who are causing the horrors that are erupting and spreading each and every day. If we don't, we know the dark forces will win. They've got the guns but we've got the numbers -- only if we unite. We all know in our hearts that's what this era will be about. Can the united forces of progress overcome the stultifying forces of greed and privilege? Only time will tell.

September 3, 2012 at 01:00 PM in Barbara Rose Wold, Civil Liberties, Economy, Populism, Human Rights, Immigration, Jobs, Labor | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Mexico Needs Jobs and Leadership to Restore the American Dream

Following is an op-ed from Sam Bregman - Restore the Dream

What is Governor Martinez doing? Where are the jobs and where is the leadership she promised with the private sector and federal government to generate good paying, long term jobs? They’re not in Tampa, site of the Republican National Convention and a top destination for this Governor since she took office in January 2011. Now that the panic is over about whether she will be allowed to speak or not, maybe the priority can be finding and creating jobs. Maybe. What has she done to create one, single job? Absolutely nothing.

So far, the Governor’s agenda consists of bringing up divisive social issues, blaming our teachers for failing schools, placing incompetent, discredited political hacks in charge of government agencies and allowing her chief political consultant to run a shadow government that is obsessed with furthering her political ambitions, whatever the cost.

Meanwhile, the worst economic crisis in 80 years continues to destroy jobs as New Mexico working families struggle for their slice of the American dream. After 20 months in office, they expect strong leadership from their Governor, someone that will fight and work hard to create jobs. Sadly, the result is failed leadership, starting with the Governor and continuing with do nothing political appointees, while repeated excuses assigning blame, play like a scratched, broken record.

As a concerned citizen and proud New Mexican , I believe that state government can and must take the lead in promoting and encouraging job growth in the private sector as well as in government. We must have strong, committed leadership that reaches out to both parties and is willing to use every tool available to help New Mexicans.

I have traveled thousands of miles throughout New Mexico and listened to voices in communities large and small, young and old, Democrats and Republicans. No one cares about personal political agendas or how to tear down your opponent in the next election—they care about providing a home to their children, good schools, safe streets and holding on to the American dream. They look to the future and want their Governor to support them. Nothing else matters if you cannot provide economic security for your family.

Recently, the Republican National Committee sent out a press release quoting Governor Martinez:” …Americans want to work. They want to build their businesses, compete and succeed in order to create more jobs and a secure future for their families.”

Really? Could you start doing something that would create jobs and provide a secure future in the state that elected you Governor?

New Mexican working families are waiting for Governor Martinez, her political appointees and consultants to stand up, provide leadership and fight for jobs in New Mexico, instead of looking for opportunities to tear down yet another opponent in the next election.

Because hard work, a good job and hope for the future is the American dream. For New Mexico and the USA.

August 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM in Economy, Populism, Jobs, Susana Martinez, Unemployment | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tax Policy in New Mexico

Guest blog provided by Alicia Manzano. Alicia is the Outreach Director at New Mexico Voices for Children and also leads the New Mexico Fairness Project.

In her June 29 column, “Apples and Activism,” Sherry Robinson dismissed a proposal to close a New Mexico tax loophole that only benefits profitable out-of-state corporations. One of the main problems with her column is that she demonstrates a basic lack of understanding regarding what the proposal—called mandatory combined reporting (MCR)—actually does and does not do. It does not allow New Mexico to tax the profits a company makes in another state. That would be illegal—and the legality of MCR, which has been adopted by most other western states, has been upheld by the Supreme Court. That said, it’s hard to give much credence to the rest of her assertions—particularly her argument that our state’s corporate tax rate is too high. An Ernst and Young study released earlier this year showed that New Mexico’s effective tax rate was among the lowest in nine of our western state neighbors.

In addition, Winthrop Quigley, a business writer for the Albuquerque Journal, recently pointed out that when studies take into account the effect of New Mexico’s wide range of tax incentives, our state’s effective tax rate shrinks by more than 62 percent. The devastating impacts of so many unfair and ineffective loopholes also mean cuts to essential programs and services like education.

When it comes to comparing our state budget to other states, we found especially troubling a report on MSNBC a few weeks ago that listed New Mexico as #1 in the country for “states cutting the most to schools and cities.” Beggaring our schools and infrastructure undermines the foundation for future job growth.

These realities are re-igniting a conversation among New Mexicans about our state’s budget priorities. It has become increasingly hard for defenders of trickle-down economics to justify loopholes and tax breaks that only benefit the wealthiest and big, profitable corporations. That goes for the 2003 state income tax cuts that gave a huge tax cut to New Mexicans in the top income bracket, while providing New Mexicans in the bottom 40 percent with no tax reduction.

The old trickle-down dogma has repeatedly failed. The legacy of both the Bush and New Mexico’s failed tax cut polices for the top 1 percent are plain to see. A sagging economy coupled with the increased transfer of wealth to the richest New Mexicans leaves the rest of us to ponder the value of those tax breaks as vital services are cut and teachers, police officers, and firefighters are laid off.

How much bigger can New Mexico’s class sizes get as teachers are let go? How much longer can we stretch public safety response times due to under-funding for police and firefighters? How much more disinvestment can Main Street New Mexico handle before their small businesses close up shop? How many more hungry children will be turned away from underfunded summer lunch programs? How many more thousands of our toddlers will end up on a child care waiting list?

The executive’s refusal to close this tax loophole, along with the veto of important transparency measures, only harms our ability to make smart decisions regarding our state budget. New Mexicans deserve transparency and hard data about the job creation effectiveness of tax breaks, like those enjoyed by out-of-state corporations.

In tough times like these, New Mexico’s wealthiest 1 percent should be contributing their fair share. New Mexicans also deserve to know how out-of-state corporations have gamed New Mexico’s tax system while not being held accountable for promised job creation that never happened.

At the end of the day, New Mexico needs a tax system that exemplifies the values of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

August 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM in Economy, Populism, Education, Guest Blogger, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (1)