Saturday, December 01, 2012
Fun Saturday Lazy Research
Patchwork Nation has a fun map of the counties of our Country and an interactive method to drill down to see what a particular region is made up of these current days.
Have fun. Click on this link to go to the patchwork site and maneuver around. See where you want to move to. Good Saturday fun!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Congressman Luján Applauds Decision to Locate Tres Amigas Headquarters in New Mexico
Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District applauded the recent decision by Tres Amigas, LLC to locate its headquarters in New Mexico. Tres Amigas was considering locations in New Mexico and Texas.
“The decision by Tres Amigas to call New Mexico home is welcome news for our state and will mean an influx of new jobs in communities across New Mexico,” Congressman Luján said. “New Mexico is home to a number of innovative efforts to promote renewable energy and America’s energy independence, and I welcome the Tres Amigas headquarters and this cutting-edge project to promote clean energy generation and more efficient transmission.”
Luján has long been a supporter of the Tres Amigas project that will use the latest advances in power grid technology to provide the first common interconnection of America’s three power grids. The project will help the country meet renewable energy goals and facilitate the smooth, reliable, and efficient transfer of green power from region to region. Luján has encouraged the development of new cutting edge energy projects, such as Tres Amigas, as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water and Power Subcommittee and House Science and Technology Committee. He has also supported a number of budgetary efforts to fully fund transmission planning programs at the federal level.
Tres Amigas’ headquarters will include the executive offices, a control room with state-of-the-art technology that will remotely control the Clovis-based SuperStation; and it will host a trading floor for electricity. The location of the headquarters within New Mexico has yet to be announced.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Marty Chavez Meeting With Westside Small Business Owners
Yesterday, Democratic First Congressional District candidate Marty Chavez met with local small business owners on Albuquerque's Westside to hear about what Congress should be doing to strengthen small businesses and create jobs. Marty spent time discussing these issues with:
- Larry Nelson, Owner of Nelson's Meats
- Dago Ruiz, Owner of D&B U Sell It
- John Battaglia, Owner of North Coors Self Storage
- Anthony Nieto, Anthony M. Nieto DMD
- Margy Hernandez, Co-Owner of La Mexicana Restaurant
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy here in New Mexico,” said Chavez. “The small business owners in attendance expressed unanimous concern about both the complexity of regulations and the inability to get access to credit and I fully believe Congress has a role to play in these areas. In Congress, my top priorities to help local small businesses grow will be to end the unfair tax giveaways to the mega-corporations - some of whom pay no taxes at all, streamline the regulatory process and find ways to facilitate greater access to traditional and non-traditional credit sources through micro-loan programs and strengthening local credit unions. There were no bailouts for small businesses in America, but there sure were for Wall Street. It’s time we leveled the playing field.”
“Marty understands how business works and has proven that he has the problem solving ability necessary to work in Washington to get things done for small business can thrive,” added John Battaglia. “He proved it as Mayor and I know that he will prove it in Congress.”
Dago Ruiz noted, “What we need right now is someone who has actually helped create jobs like Marty. He is committed to making it possible for small businesses to get credit and grow and in turn create jobs. That's the kind of dedication to local business owners we need in Congress.”
This is the second roundtable with local small business leaders. In October, Marty held the first of his discussions with small business owners in the East Downtown area.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
NM Green Chamber Expresses Disappointment with Governor Martinez' Veto of Senate Bill 9
The New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce expressed its deep disappointment with Governor Martinez' veto of a measure to close a tax-loophole that allows "big-box" companies to claim their profits in states that don't have corporate income tax. New Mexico is the last Western state that allows "big-box" companies to use this loophole to avoid taxes and shift the tax burden onto the backs of Main Street business.
Senate Bill 9 (SB9), sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth of Santa Fe, was approved by a bi-partisan vote in the 2012 New Mexico State Legislature, after nearly a decade of attempts. Martinez' veto means that New Mexico small businesses will continue to pay more in corporate income taxes than their out-of-state "big box" competitors.
"Vetoing SB9 keeps New Mexico owned businesses at a disadvantage against big-box stores," said Doug Zilm, NMGCC member. "As a grocery store manager, who pays his fair share of taxes because I'm part of this community, I'm terribly disappointed the Governor would protect this tax loophole for out-of state corporations. I'm worried that the Governor doesn't support the small businesses that support New Mexico."
Small businesses across New Mexico compete every day against out-of-state corporations and across the nation, small businesses have generated 65% of net new jobs over the last two decades. Whereas according to a 2007 study by UC Irvine, Clark and Cornell University, for every 1 job created by a store like Wal-Mart, 1.4 jobs are lost as existing businesses downsize or close.
On Monday more than 50 small businesses submitted a letter to Governor Martinez asking her to sign SB9 (https://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1104335014834-205/NMGCC+Letter+to+GovMartinez.pdf)
If signed into law, SB9 would have lowered taxes on all corporations and mandated that out-of-state corporations with retail spaces more than 30,000 square feet in size report their combined earnings from all subsidiaries for tax purposes. Without mandatory combined reporting, many choose to file at alternative corporate addresses in states with no corporate taxes.
 www.newrules.org/retail/neumarkstudy.pdf by David Neumark (University of California-Irvine), Junfu Zhang (Clark University), and Stephen Ciccarella (Cornell University), IZA Discussion Paper No. 2545, Jan. 2007
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
New Report Finds New Mexico Utility PNM Used Huge Rate Hikes on Residents to Fuel Soaring Profits During Recession
The Sierra Club, New Energy Economy, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Dine’ CARE, and Southwest Organizing Project released a report today finding that New Mexico’s largest utility, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), has aggressively pursued major increases in electricity rates, corporate profits, and executive pay during a period of economic hardship for many residents.
The analysis of financial documents and investor presentations of PNM and its parent company, PNM Resources (PNMR), reveals that since 2008 the utility has directed 79 percent of the $182 million it has raised from rate increases into corporate profits ¾ driving a 2500 percent profit increase.
“With three rate hikes in four years going mostly to corporate profits while New Mexicans are struggling, PNM is behaving like a big Wall St. bank,” said New Energy Economy Executive Director Mariel Nanasi. “The utility’s claims to care about residents and rate impacts ring hollow.”
The report finds that in 2010, the year unemployment in New Mexico hit 8.4 percent, PNMR raised pay for its top five corporate executives by 68 percent, including doubling CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn’s pay to nearly $2.5 million a year.
PNM’s 2008, 2009, and 2011 rate hikes have amounted to an additional $250 a year for the average New Mexico residential ratepayer, a 41 percent increase, according to the analysis. Less than 6 percent of the money from PNM’s rate hikes was spent toward energy efficiency programs that benefit ratepayers or clean energy projects that create jobs and reduce reliance on costly and polluting coal plants, such as PNM’s San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.
“PNM has been enriching its investors while stalling on renewable energy investments and efficiency programs that create jobs, cut pollution, and save New Mexicans money,” said Shrayas Jatkar, Sierra Club organizing representative in Albuquerque. “This is a wake-up call that ratepayers and regulators must closely question any PNM rate increases going forward.”
While the state’s other investor-owned utilities, El Paso Electric and Southwestern Public Service, are complying with state law by providing 10 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, PNM is failing to meet the standard. On energy efficiency programs that save New Mexicans money, PNM lags far behind the 5 percent savings required by 2014, the report finds.
“New Mexicans want more energy coming from clean sources without the air pollution, toxic ash waste, and intensive water use of burning coal,” said Mike Eisenfeld with the San Juan Citizens Alliance in Farmington, where residents are exposed to air pollutants from the nearby San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant. “On that priority, PNM is holding our state back.”
The Perspective on PNM report notes that 80 percent of PNMR stock is held by financial institutions, largely outside of the state. After the November 2011 sale of its Texas energy business First Choice for $270 million, PNMR used the money to repurchase $230 million in PNMR shares, meaning “most of the money left New Mexico instead of being invested in-state,” according to the report.
"PNM has been resisting the air pollution controls needed at its San Juan coal plant at the exact same time they've been putting so much money to profits," said Lori Goodman with Dine' Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (Dine’ CARE). "That's an added insult to all who live near that plant's pollution, and it says a lot about PNM's priorities."
The report is being shared with members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation and Public Regulatory Commission (PRC).
Please click here for a PDF version of the report, “Perspective on PNM: Rates, Profits & Priorities During the Recession (2008-2012).”
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Governor Martinez, Can't You See the Elephant in the Room?
From ProgressNow New Mexico.
"We can do so much more to level the playing field for our small businesses, to put more New Mexicans back to work."
-Governor Susana Martinez, 2012 State of the State Address
Earlier today, Governor Martinez signed into law her self-described "Major Tax Reform Package" that benefits her campaign donors while costing state and local governments $50 million per year in lost revenue. Noticeably absent from this "major" package of bills is SB9, the bi-partisan legislation that would lower the tax burden on all of New Mexico's most successful businesses.
SB9 is now the infamous "elephant in the room," as it represents the most common-sense measure to level the playing field for New Mexico businesses, but is one the governor has yet to sign. SB9 would close the egregious tax loophole that allows "big box" stores like Best Buy to pay a lower tax rate than established local businesses like Baillio's. Unlike the bills Martinez signed today, SB9 is a revenue neutral bill that would reward our most successful businesses by lowering their corporate income tax rate, thus allowing them to create new jobs and invest in our local communities.
Instead of ensuring local businesses have a fair marketplace in which to compete, the tax bills Governor Martinez signed today will reduce taxes exclusively for the construction and manufacturing sectors, two industries that contributed almost $900,000 to Martinez's gubernatorial campaign. These contributions included more than $350,000 from home builder Bob Perry, her single largest individual donor.
"The legislature gave the governor the tools to reward every successful New Mexico business, not just those who can afford to give the biggest political donations. Let's hope that the governor does the right thing and signs SB9 into law as part of her next tax reform package," says Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
In a Bi-Partisan Vote, House Judiciary Passes Senate Bill 9: Combined Reporting, Moves to House Floor
Today, Senate Bill 9, closing tax loopholes for out-of-state corporations, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee for the first time in the 8 years since Senator Wirth first introduced the bill.
SB9 was amended to focus only on big-box stores and drop the corporate income tax rate to 7.5 percent.
We believe this is an important and positive step toward a level playing field.
PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE NOW and urge them to support a level playing field for New Mexico's small business. The session ends TOMORROW at noon.
Want to know who your Representative is? Find out here by entering your zip code+4.
You can be connected to your State legislator by calling the switchboard at: (505) 986-4300.
EDITORIAL FROM 2/15/12 ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL
New Mexico is known for going it alone, often with negative results. For example, take the recently struck down cap and trade regulation imposed during the Richardson administration.
New Mexico is the only Western state with a corporate income tax that doesn't require big businesses that are based in another state to file corporate taxes here using "combined reporting." That means such corporations would have to combine earnings from all of its subsidiaries, regardless of location, and pay New Mexico corporate income tax based on a portion of its combined earnings. Businesses now have the option of filing state taxes on income related to in-state operations or on its combined corporate income.
Proponents of combined reporting say the current code allows corporations to shift income to states with lower tax rates to reduce liability. For the past few years, legislation to change what proponents call a tax loophole has been introduced but has failed to pass.
This year's version, SB 9, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, would lower the top corporate tax rate from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent, to offset the requirement that more corporations pay taxes to the state. The bill was amended so that only "big box" retailers - stores of more than 30,000 square feet under one roof - would have to file with combined reporting.
Opponents have argued the change would discourage big businesses from locating in New Mexico. However, amendments adopted this year address that, for instance, by exempting manufacturers like Intel. In fact, it targets retailers like Walmart and Target that will locate here in any case because there is a customer base for their products.
If the change will lower corporate income taxes across the board and make the tax code more equitable, it merits serious - and nonpartisan - consideration.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
HIRE Initiative, Tax Bills Pass Senate
Several of the bills included in the Democratic Caucus's HIRE Initiative and Tax Initiative passed out of the Senate this week and will be sent to the House. Senate Bills 9, 145, 16 and 311 were all focused on helping small businesses grow, and many received bipartisan support.
"These bills are all steps in making it easier to help the state have a fair tax code," Senator Michael Sanchez said. "From getting New Mexico graduates hired, to making sure that businesses invest in the state and pay their fair share of taxes these bills make sure that fairness is the preeminent concept in our legislation."
Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Senator Peter Wirth, focuses on lowering the overall corporate tax rate for businesses, and making sure that out of state “big box” corporations pay the same rate as in state ones. This piece of legislation would be revenue neutral.
Senate Bill 145, sponsored by Senator Tim Eichenberg, was passed on Sunday, February 12, and would maintain the three percent increase limit on property taxes, which would ease the burden on New Mexicans looking to buy a new home.
Senator Tim Keller's Senate Bill 16 will provide an incentive to businesses that hire graduate and professional students in the science, technology, engineering and health fields and will strategically implement job opportunities in line with the higher education priorities of the State of New Mexico.
Senate Bill 311, sponsored by Senator John Sapien, would require additional investment in New Mexico by companies to then qualify for a tax credit against their corporate income tax. It would be tiered and correlated to the amount they invest in New Mexico—the more they invest in the state, the longer they can claim the credit. There is a sunset on the bill that would cease the tax credit in 2021.
"This bill is designed to give businesses in the manufacturing industry a credit," Senator Sapien said. "But only when there is a demonstrable investment in their communities. We are looking to reward actual performance rather than promises.”
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Senator Tim Keller; "We Need A New Vision For New Mexico"
The following commentary was provided by Senator Tim Keller.(SD17)
In New Mexico, times have been tough. The Land of Enchantment has been gripped by economic uncertainty for over three years now. But, after almost half a decade living year-to-year (and sometimes month-to-month), New Mexico may be turning a corner and it’s time we got serious about a new, long-term vision for the Land of Enchantment. We must stop rehashing the same old issues and put forth some bold new initiatives.
That’s why the Senate unveiled a comprehensive economic development and job creation program. The bills included in the Senate’s Helping Incentivize Real Employment (HIRE) Initiative offer solid strategies to getting New Mexico on the right track. The time is right to rebuild our economic foundations, starting with a level playing field for every New Mexico business. The Senate Democrat’s proposal encourages every business, not just those in special industries, to hire New Mexican graduates, thereby making our education system stronger and our communities more viable. Additionally, new investments in a state entrepreneurial fund will give all startups with a good idea a chance to develop into solid New Mexico businesses and employers.
Over the years, our state has been guided by incremental ideas and spending triage that have left us adrift without a long-term, common-sense plan for our future. It is time to abandon the notion that a tax giveaway to a single company or long-established industry will create across the board growth from Chama to Catron County. Instead, it is time we build up new industries; small businesses and our education system reward those who play by the rules. By leveraging our strengths in energy technology potential, laboratory research and development and unparalleled cultural diversity, we must align bold, meaningful changes and encourage businesses to do the same. This is how we will grow New Mexico’s workforce.
Instead of offering token tax cuts to just a handful of businesses, let’s create a tax system that gives every business the help they need and ensures they are playing on a level field. We can broaden our tax base and lower the overall tax rate so that all New Mexicans are better off. Instead of piecemeal education reform let’s promote a system that prioritizes early education and generates pathways to jobs being created right here in New Mexico.
Our state government must get down to the work that moves us forward, and do so quickly. Every day we are distracted by menial education reforms or grandstanding on driver’s licenses is another day lost. It is during these lost, distracted days that we should be bringing together business, labor, teachers, parents and communities to build new infrastructure, encourage innovative research and care for those in need. As our legislature enters our final few weeks, the question now is how quickly we will get there and how far we will go.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Senate Release Tax Reform Initiative
Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus gathered today to discuss their ideas for tax reform proposed in this session. Senators Morales, Eichenberg, Fischmann and Wirth, as well as Majority Leader Sanchez laid out several bills that would make the New Mexican tax code more fair.
"We know we need to reform the tax code to make sure it is fair to New Mexico's small businesses and our working families," Senator Sanchez said. "We want to protect the mom and pop shops here, by making sure there is a level playing field with out of state corporations."
The three bills included in the first round of tax plans are SBs 9, 74, and 145.
Senator Peter Wirth introduced Senate Bill 9, and focuses on lowering the overall tax rate for businesses, and making sure that out of state corporations pay the same rate as in state ones.
"Its a win-win for New Mexico businesses," Senator Wirth said. "Senate Bill 9 creates one set of rules for businesses that pay the corporate tax. And, by broadening the tax base, we can lower the tax rate without impacting the state budget."
Senate Bill 74 is a bill that would reduce the gross receipts tax pyramiding on business to business transactions for professional services, and would pay for the change mandating combined reporting, a reduction in capital gains deduction, and an increase in the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, and a repeal of the trade in allowance. Senate Bill 145 would maintain the three percent increase limit on property taxes, which would ease the burden on New Mexicans looking to buy a new home.
"These ideas that we are presenting are not the same old push for new revenue," said Senator Howie Morales. "We are serious about putting in place lasting tax reform that works for New Mexicans and holds corporations accountable."
Friday, January 20, 2012
Poll-- Supreme Court Citizens United Decision Hurts Small Businesses
66 percent of small business owners view Citizens United v. FEC decision as bad for small business; 88 percent hold negative view of money in politics overall.
Two-thirds of American small business leaders believe the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case handed down two years ago on January 21 hurts small companies. The decision overturned existing campaign finance law and resulted in a flood of campaign contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals.
Only nine percent of small business leaders thought the ruling positive, according to an independent national survey of 500 small business leaders released today by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority.
The survey also found that 88 percent of small business owners hold a negative view of the role money plays in politics, with 68 percent viewing it very negatively.Click here to read the report.
"As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Citizens United case, the verdict is loud and clear: the ruling hurts the small businesses that we need to be strong for economic recovery," said David Levine, executive director of the American Sustainable Business Council. "Business owners are frustrated because they have to compete with big business bank accounts to be heard, and they are fighting back. More than 1,000 business owners have joined ASBC's Business for Democracy campaign to fight for a constitutional amendment that overturns this decision."
"The Citizen's United ruling is deeply unpopular with our small businesses, which see it as a major step back for our economy, and our democracy," said Lawrence Rael, President of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce. "Because of Citizen's United, small business can't afford a seat at the political table. We strongly support an amendment to our Constitution."
The Citizens United case, decided by the Supreme Court in January 2010, upheld an argument that government could not place limits on political spending by independent organizations such as corporations. The landmark decision sparked a heated national debate over the role of money in politics, with calls for everything from new SEC rules requiring disclosure of corporate political spending to a Constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United ruling.
For more information on these poll findings,visit:
Poll results reported in this statement represent findings from an Internet survey of 500 small business owners nationwide, commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority and conducted by Lake Research Partners. The survey was conducted between December 8, 2011 and January 4, 2012. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
10/16 ABQ: Fulbright Association Hosts Perspectives on Climate Change
You are invited to
Perspectives on Climate Change
3:00 PM, Sunday, October 16, 2011
Jewish Community Center
5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Click for Flyer (PDF)
Free and Open to the Public
“Current views in Congress on the threats of global warming:" Senator Jeff Bingaman (by video)
“The scientific evidence that growing carbon dioxide levels and global warming are largely of human origin” -- Professor David Gutzler, The University of New Mexico
“Potential consequences of global warming, from inconvenient weather to global catastrophe” -- Dr. Mark Boslough, Sandia National Laboratories
“Obstacles standing in the way of addressing global warming- a business community perspective” -- Mr. Jeff Sterba,Chairman, PNM Resources
Q & A
Mr. John Fleck, Moderator, Science Writer, The Albuquerque Journal
Co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico and the UNM Chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State.