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Friday, February 25, 2011

Raise Revenues, Don't Cut Services Says Majority Attending Debate in Santa Fe

Debate photos. Click for larger version or photo album

Note: On Monday, February 28, from 6-7 PM, public radio station KANW 89.1 FM and its translators will rebroadcast this public debate. It will also be streaming live on kanw.com, so it will be available statewide. Afterwards, listeners who log-on to kanw.com can vote on which team won the debate -- and are urged to contact their lawmakers to express their views.

Attendees at Wednesday's team debate in Santa Fe on the question, "Shall we cut education and public services again, or raise revenues?" voted for raising revenues by a margin of 66-39 after hearing arguments on both sides of the question. The event, held at the Scottish Rite Center, was co-hosted by NM Progressive Action and the Rio Grande Foundation, among others, and featured a lively exchange of ideas on by far the most pressing issue of New Mexico's ongoing 60-day legislative session.

Sen. Griego: 75% of budget is education and health care. Unless we raise revenues, those will get deep cuts. Should we eliminate 1st and second grade instead?

With the lingering impact of a national recession still putting a damper on economic activity here and around the nation, Republican Governor Susana Martinez and right-wing lawmakers have demanded that no new revenue-producing measures be considered to fill the funding gaps in education, Medicaid and other key government services. More liberal members of the legislature -- and a huge -- have been pushing for fixing New Mexico's tax structure so that everyone's paying a fairer share of the costs of government. They say there's no place else to cut after three straight sessions of already deep budget reductions.

Sen. Ortiz y Pino: Real goal of Rio Grande Foundation is to destroy government, privatize everything.

The pro-revenue-raising team consisted of Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Eric Griego (D-Albuquerque), Carter Bundy of AFSCME and former Richardson cabinet secretary Kelly O'Donnell. Their bottom line view? New Mexico's budget has already been cut to the bone and there are plenty of unnecessary loopholes and omissions in our tax code that could easily produce the revenue we need to patch up the state's financial affairs. For instance, here's a list of the out-of-state-corporations doing business here that pay no income taxes in New Mexico.

Rep. Baldonado: Likes Don't Mess With Texas signs, billowing smokestacks in El Paso

On the other side of the question, supporting more cuts, were Rep. Conrad James (R-Albuquerque), Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Los Lunas), Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Turner. Their mantra was that we need to continue cutting, and cutting more because ... well, because they don't want fairly tax rich elites or out-of-state corporations. They believe that returning the income tax rates of our richest New Mexicans to 2003 levels or requiring out-of-state corporations to pay the same taxes on their earnings that small, local businesses do would be damaging somehow and is inherently unfair. Makes no sense, does it? Check out how much -- and how little our lower income citizens gained -- from the 2003 tax cuts.

Carter Bundy: Already cut $900 million. Get money from people using gimmicky tax dodges and repeal part of tax cut at top.

Watch Clips of the Entire Debate
To see video clips in sequence of Wednesday's debate, click here.

Take Action: Call or email your legislators to urge them to raise revenues instead of cutting education and other services more than the $900 million they've already been reduced.

February 25, 2011 at 05:13 PM in Economy, Populism, Education, Healthcare, NM Legislature 2011, Susana Martinez, Taxes | Permalink


If you missed Feb. 23 Debate in Santa Fe, you really missed something! This DFNM report is the next best thing to being there. Congrats to DFNM for this excellent summary, photos, & video with audio! We are going to stop these proposed education & public services cuts, and RAISE REVENUES! This DFNM must go 'viral'!

Posted by: John Adams Ingram | Feb 25, 2011 8:41:17 PM

No brainer!

Posted by: Ejército Libertador del Sur | Feb 25, 2011 8:50:28 PM

Only our legislators don't get it!

Posted by: Brian | Feb 25, 2011 9:18:57 PM

Brian is correct. His state senator & representative, as well as my state senator & representative, "don't get it"! ! ! Why?

Our state lawmakers have told me that they ARE NOT FEELING ANY PRESSURE to raise revenues. Why?

Because Brian, me, and most voters are not calling, emailing, visiting, & writing our state senators and representatives, and demanding that they raise revenues.

So, we should first get our own houses in order. We should move the conversation about "raising revenues" to our specific state senator and state representative. Simply tell them: "Raise revenues, or else."

As my first grade teacher (Ms. Marshall @ East Ward ES, Portales) taught me: "Red, if you don't A-S-K, you don't G-E-T."

After I learned to spell, I understood what Ms. Marshall was trying to teach me.

Is it time for a "Red Chili Revolution" in NM?

Posted by: Red Chili Revolution | Feb 26, 2011 12:15:09 PM

I think our Democratic lawmakers get it but they don't care or don't have enough backbone to stand up to the crooked bums who hold the power positions in both the NM House and Senate. The institution itself is owned and operated by oil and gas and other rich corporate interests. They win over emails every time.

Posted by: redstar | Feb 26, 2011 6:04:03 PM

Too much lip service not enough action! I attended the debate and it was excellent. Now we need these politicians to put their money where their mouths are.

Posted by: Jobs now! | Feb 26, 2011 8:55:16 PM