Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Real Story - Tax Bill Shows Need for Legislative Reform by Heath Haussamen

Haussamen-Heath low resolutionBy Heath Haussamen,
New Mexico In Depth

As House Speaker Ken Martinez put an end to the 2013 regular legislative session on Saturday, a number of journalists and others took to Twitter to express their shock at what had just happened.

Members of the N.M. House of Representatives approved a number of tax reforms that had each provoked long debates in the past. They lumped the proposals into one, complex bill that essentially shifts tax burden from corporations to cities and counties, which forces the local governments to decide in the coming years whether to make budget cuts or raise your taxes.

The House and Senate both approved the legislation in the final hour of the session, without many lawmakers taking time to understand how their votes might affect their constituents and what cities and counties will do to plug budget holes. Many didn’t have details on how the changes would impact the state’s budget or data to support the bet that cutting corporate taxes will bring significant numbers of new jobs to the state.

In the House, Martinez allowed the bill to bypass the scrutiny of the committee process despite his past statements about the importance of that process. On the floor, the majority of lawmakers chose to vote without any debate. As the session concluded around noon on Saturday, the House gave final legislative approval to a major rewrite of the tax code most had seen for the first time only minutes earlier.

“That’s insane,” one woman, her voice captured on an archived video recording of the final moments from the House, muttered as she watched the tax bill win approval.

The Senate had approved the bill minutes before the House. At a post-session news conference, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who participated in secret negotiations on the legislation, promised to sign the legislation and called it “an important victory.”

Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, told me having little information about the impact of the bill is why he joined 25 other House and Senate members in voting against it. He called the last-minute push for a secretly negotiated bill an “ambush” that showed a lack of leadership.

“If you have a good policy, it should withstand debate and scrutiny,” Cervantes said. “If you have an uncertain and unclear position, then you pass it without an opportunity for scrutiny.”

How it happened

Most legislators didn’t know leaders were negotiating the tax bill as the 60-day session wound down last week. The governor, Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith and a handful of others kept discussions secret.

A version of the tax proposal became public Friday night when Smith’s committee approved Senate Bill 538. That legislation went nowhere following the committee vote.

But the proposal gained new life in the final hour of the session, around 11 a.m. Saturday, when proponents stuffed it into House Bill 641 on the Senate floor. Senators voted 34-8 to approve the proposal, with only Democrats dissenting.

There was little debate. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, called the legislation “complex” but urged approval. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, decried the lack of information and voted against it.

The House took up the proposal with less than 20 minutes until the constitutionally mandated noon end of the session. Before House members had a copy of the bill, Minority Whip Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, proposed voting without allowing debate. Speaker Martinez, D-Grants, delayed Gentry’s motion long enough for members to get the bill and be told by a cabinet secretary that it would have a positive impact on the state’s budget each of the next five years.

Then more than two thirds of House members who were present agreed to skip debate and go straight to a final vote.

House members didn’t have time to read the bill carefully, if at all. Many said they got no written report on the impact of the legislation, while others received a copy of a report on the earlier version of the proposal, which was outdated, just before they voted.

Though Finance Secretary Tom Clifford promised a positive impact on the state budget for five years, he provided no details and said nothing about the impact on local governments or your wallet. A legislative analysis released Wednesday – four days after lawmakers voted to approve the bill – estimated a positive impact on the state budget for the first two years but a negative impact for the following two years.

Before the House voted to skip debate and then approve the bill, Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, tried to debate, but Speaker Martinez cut him off. Instead, there were periods of silence as the speaker waited for a legislative staffer and Clifford to provide information.

“They were stalling so there wouldn’t be time for debate,” Rep. Stephen Easley, D-Santa Fe, was quoted by The Santa Fe New Mexican as saying. “That was pretty unfortunate in terms of process and procedure.”

Steinborn agreed.

“I’m all for sensible tax reform and balanced tax reform, but it needs to be done with debate and forethought and very sound financial data,” Steinborn told me Tuesday. “That’s why I was standing up to debate, and why I took exception with this.”

In the final seconds of the session, House members voted 46-18 to approve the bill, with Steinborn and Easley among the handful of Democrats and Republicans in opposition.

House Majority Whip Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, who had earlier said he didn’t know whether to approve the “complex” and “major” proposal, voted for it. After the session ended, he told KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, “It’s a great day for New Mexico because it’s jobs, it’s economic development. We came together. We listened to one another.”

Listened? During debate that never happened?

A duty to be deliberative and transparent

Many components of the legislation had been discussed individually before. But lumping them together created massive tax reform whose impact hadn’t been scrutinized. In addition, the House has 18 new members this year, including Easley – that’s about a fourth of the chamber’s 70 members – who might not have been familiar with the individual proposals.

Those who negotiated this proposal and shoved it down lawmakers’ throats – and legislators who went along with that effort – tossed principles of good government, like scrutiny and transparency, out the window. Why?

Smith was quoted by The New Mexican as saying he didn’t know any other way to pass such legislation “when we’re running out of time.” Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho, who voted against the bill, told me he didn’t have time to look over the bill before voting but “didn’t really mind the process.”

“I know it happens sometimes,” said Lewis, who said he supports the legislation now that he’s had time to look it over.

Time is an issue. Lawmakers aren’t paid, and many have other careers. The prospect of returning to Santa Fe for a special session can be daunting. In this case, the governor threatened to veto the budget and call another session, but Smith and others believed she might sign the budget if she also got a significant tax-reform bill.

Hence a deal that Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, who voted against the bill, called a “royal screw job.” Many lawmakers who voted for the tax bill were apparently influenced by a desire to avoid another session.

That’s outrageous. Lawmakers have a duty to be deliberative and transparent, to take the time to gather information, analysis and opinions needed to make reasonable decisions. If that means another session, so be it.

Cervantes said New Mexico’s legislative process is designed to avoid debate and scrutiny. He has pushed for years, unsuccessfully, for the creation of a commission tasked with proposing constitutional reforms, including changes to the legislative process.

If the current system hinders lawmakers’ ability to do their jobs, then it’s time for structural reform.

Haussamen, New Mexico In Depth’s deputy director, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @haussamen. Find NMID at nmindepth.com.

March 21, 2013 at 07:00 PM in NM Legislature 2013, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thank You Rep. Mary Helen Garcia

Bigots imagesThank you Rep. Mary Helen Garcia for being a bigot today. Because you and Rep. Rodella voted NO to HJR 3 I as a gay woman do not have to wait longer to have my love life voted on this year. It is always a torturous time when a bill that is so meaningful is hanging in time. What will they vote, at each turn, we people who believe in full equality wait and wonder what will they (you) vote. This year the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, the first committee to hear the HJR3 passed the bill, the second committee to hear the bill - House Voters & Elections Committee- they killed it. So now I do not have to stress about this particular bill that means so much to me. It is kind of like your team in the Olympics that you have trained with and worked with loosing in the second match. Only it is every year, and your own teammates fail you.

ProgressNow has a good write up about this bills death today. All the contact information is there for the haters that killed the bill.

A sincere Thank You to Rep. Egolf for Introducing HJR3 - MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES & CEREMONIES, CA.  It would be great to have some of Rep Garcia's close allies and better yet her constituents to call her out on this negative vote. And for the Native American community and Rodella's constituents to call Rep. Rodella out on this negative vote. Why? Why do you continue to vote against your neighbors, your friends, your family?

There is a petition here asking for Democrat Rep. Mary Helen Garcia to resign from the Democratic Party of New Mexico. I urge you to go sign it.

On March 26, the Supreme Court is going to hear the case that every American is guaranteed the freedom to marry. A great website to follow this historic case for equality is the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Maybe Rep. Mary Helen Garcia can follow the high court proceedings and learn a thing or two. You bet I am nervous about the results of this case in the Supreme Court.

February 21, 2013 at 08:17 PM in Action Alerts, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

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)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Representative Miguel Garcia Seeks To Close Gun Show Loopholes

On Wednesday Jan. 16th, Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Bernalillo 14), once again filed a bill seeking to close dangerous Gun Show loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands and endanger the lives of New Mexicans. House Bill 77 requires background checks through the Department of Public Safety at gun shows, as well as for private transfers. Representative Garcia has previously filed similar legislation and in light of recent events is mindful of the heightened awareness surrounding gun reform issues, and is grateful to shine a light on these dangerous loopholes.

House Bill 77 seeks to:

  • Create background checks by the Department of Public Safety prior to the transfer of firearms.
  • Establish a procedure and funding for background checks
  • Address private transfers and transfers at gun shows
  • Create immunity from civil liability for lawful gun sales
  • Provide exclusions from the requirements of the Firearms Transfer Act
  • Impose criminal penalties for violations of the Firearms Transfer Act

Representative Garcia said regarding House Bill 77, “Our Wild West days are over. Our Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley days are over. Our legislation will require background checks for the mentally and criminally adjudicated at Gun Shows in New Mexico, and for a private individual purchases. These checks will help curb the flow of readily available guns and assault weapons to individuals most capable of inflicting needless injury and fatality to innocent and law abiding residents of New Mexico.”

Closing the Gun Show Loopholes and requiring background checks through a New Mexico Department of Public Safety hotline will help ensure guns do not end up in the hands of fugitives of the law, felons, the mentally ill, individuals with substance abuse issues, those dishonorably discharged from military service and individuals convicted of domestic abuse. Common-sense background checks will help provide for the safety of all New Mexicans while still respecting the second amendment and allowing law abiding citizens to purchase firearms.

January 17, 2013 at 09:55 AM in Guns, NM Legislature 2013 | 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)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

NM Telegram Legislative Session Fundraiser

Please consider contributing to NM Telegram. Open up the link, see the great info NM Telegram is providing.  Matt does great work, for next to nothing in funds. We need good coverage of this very important legislative session. Matt has been covering the Leg session for 5 years. I can attest that Matt truly relays the information coming from the session main stream media will not touch.

Democracy for NM blog here will be relying on Matt's coverage.  Look people no one can work for free. Can you work for free? 

January 9, 2013 at 01:34 PM in Media, NM Legislature 2013, NM Telegram | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

12/1: Learn how to Lobby!

New Mexico League of Women Voters
2012 Lobbying Workshop

December 1, 10:00 to noon
Montezuma Lodge, 431 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM

The goal of the workshop, presented by the League of Women Voters of New Mexico, is to teach interested attendees to be effective in advocating as individual citizens or as members of civic organizations or other groups in interacting with the NM Legislature. Handouts and discussion will also provide information on the legislative process, on lobbyist regulation, and on the tools available on the legislative web site.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but please arrive before 10:00 to sign up and collect handouts, so that we can start promptly at 10:00.

Speakers:
Senator Peter Wirth was elected to the NM House of Representatives in 2004, re-elected in 2006, and since 2008 he has represented Senate District 25 in Santa Fe.
Representative Jimmie Hall has served in the NM House of Representatives since 2004, representing House District 28 in Bernalillo County.
Linda Siegle has been a registered lobbyist in New Mexico since 1992. She specializes in representing non-profits and health care associations.

November 29, 2012 at 01:30 PM in Action Alerts, Events, NM Legislature 2013, Peter Wirth | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Republicans Pick the Perfect Bully Nate Gentry for Minority House Whip

The GOP loves their bully boys. At a Loma Del Rey Neighborhood Association Meeting on October 17th Nate Gentry showed how honest he is to his constituents. Within this video Nate states how he will not be running negative attacks like his opponent will in the campaign for House District seat 30. These are the first words out of the Reps mouth in the video Lie number 1: "Sorry for the ugly peices you will receive in your mailboxes, I will not be sending out these personal attacks I will respond with the facts and with accurate information. Kayyy?" Legislators please bear in mind the following day the hoodie mailer described in this post was in constituents mailboxes.

Listen to the video as much as you can take of the sound of this over zealous simplifying power hungry young republican man. Listen up legislators Nate lays out the R plans and his plans as the whip right here in this 10 min video. 

Within this video Gentry lays out exactly what the republicans plan on doing this session.

  1. Jobs for New Mexicans - This is first on Nate's mind he states in the video. Nate prefers to keep the favor of large corporations over the people. He says with his macho hubris - "When Smiths pays more taxes the people pay more for their groceries." The large corporations just pass on the tax to the people in other words. This is a disingenuous response to a very important topic being discussed across the country and within our own state. "Fact and Logic, Kayyy?" Nate says.
  2. Nate also states in the video (at time 1:16) that the democrats are advocating people making over 16k to have their taxes raised. So be aware democrats the whip boy is thinking you want to raise taxes on those making a measly $16,000/yr. Maybe Nate was confused that we wanted to raise their minimal income wage not their taxes.
  3. How about regulations (1:55): Nate says the regs and permits in this state are cumbersome and make businesses go elsewhere. He uses Intel as an example for air emission regs, that are more easy to obtain in Arizona. So like Nate says: if you are a business where do you want to go? To a state with higher corporate tax rates and an accountable regulatory agency? Or what he infers, you can go somewhere you can pay people crap, and pollute at will?
  4. Education (2:45): "It is a no brainer" Nate says. There is a reason why 3 out of 4 kids can't read proficiently that are in the 4th grade. Kayyy? Why is that Nate? What is the reason? How simple the no-solution response is to the republicans, such hubris.
  5. Corruption (at 3:17): Nate Gentry has got a passion for battling corruption. People coming to do business here in NM would tell him "Who is going to shake them down." Rep Gentry is very concerned about corruption. Maybe he will be extra aware as he makes his path as a public official, so far he shows he likes the power of being a power holder, the person to shake em down. Here is an article in the Abq Journal on Sat. Dec 3rd, 2011.

Rode has been the most vocal critic of how the administration of Gov. Susana Martinez sought proposals for a new racetrack and casino lease at the fairgrounds, the administration’s evaluations of the proposals and its plan to give the lease to the Downs at Albuquerque, which now runs the racino.
“I think they have violated the public trust,” she says. “If you look at all the relationships involved in this, it’s inbreeding.” Rode is referring to the many political ties (and money) that link the governor, the Downs and Downs representatives.
She was appointed by Martinez, a Republican, in August as the neighborhood representative on the State Fair Commission. “It doesn’t make me happy to say this about my own party,” Rode says.
GOP businessman Tom Tinnin also has been a public critic of the Downs deal and resigned a Martinez appointment to the state Board of Finance last month after a meeting with the governor on the issue. Other prominent Republicans are critical in private but won’t repeat the criticism in public.
State Rep. Nate Gentry, who has become a designated hitter for the administration on the Downs deal, has requested all of Rode’s written communications and other emails concerning the request for lease proposals and the racino lease. Gentry made the request under the state Inspection of Public Records Act and on his official House stationery. “It feels very retaliatory,” Rode says.

Also, ISPAC has done much investigating into Nate Gentry's involvement in the Dirty Downs Deal see this link here. Shake em down Nate.

     6.  Last but not least and maybe the most disturbing words out of Representative Gentry are close to the end of the video (7:45) when a constituent asks Nate about drug trafficking and arms smuggling from our southern border. Nate clearly states that illegal immigrants are to blame for arms smuggling, drug smuggling, human trafficking, all because of the illegal immigrant driver's license issue. A fellow constituent in the back of the room challenges Nate's assertion that because of being an illegal he would draw to the conclusion that our undocumented license issue can be tied to such extreme assertions. The constituent says Nate's statements are racist and very negative to tie your average illegals that are here which are working class, middle class poor,to this drug/arms smuggling question. Of course the Nate Gentry the Representative of this man bullies up and talks over him with a non argument - " So you are saying no drugs come in from Mexico?" The man goes on to reiterate that their are no ties or prove of what Gentry is saying. Unfortunately the video ends within that exchange, but Nate takes the constituent to task over the matter.

What a stretch? Not really. This is a wake up post for us as citizens, news reporters, and our legislators, this is a leader in our NM republican party.  

In summary we should keep a close eye on this Representative Nate Gentry whipman. He is slick, he is loyal to his bosses, and he is not independent in thinking. Kayyyyy!

November 28, 2012 at 06:06 AM in Democratic Party, NM Legislature 2013, Republican Party | Permalink | Comments (1)