The things they don’t tell you about the permanent fund

The recent news that the Dow hit 20,000 bodes well for all investors—from working families with 401Ks to the beneficiaries of the state’s $15 billion Land Grant Permanent School Fund. The high volume of trading indicates that the nation’s economy is strong. It also reinforces the point that New Mexico’s permanent fund is robust. So robust that even if we increase the percentage that we take out—and invest it in early childhood care and learning services—the fund will continue to grow. For six years now legislators have attempted to pass joint resolutions that would allow New Mexico voters to decide whether to spend a bit more of their fund on early childhood services.

Analysis: ‘Feed bill’ fight may foretell partisan battles to come

If you thought that somehow the flowery talk before the current legislative session about working together to solve the state’s stagnant economy and high unemployment meant that hyped-up partisan battles between the two political parties and between Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and the Democratic-controlled Legislature were a thing of the past in the Roundhouse … think again. Although the process has not melted down to a full-fledged political food fight, the recent fury over the so-called “feed bill” — which pays for the session as well as interim legislative committees — caused much animosity and led to some harsh rhetoric and partisan posturing. And that might only be a preview of battles to come in the remaining 40 days of the session. Martinez called the Legislature’s actions “political games” that showed a “lack of leadership,” claiming in a news release that Democrats “continue to protect their precious pork projects.”

Motivated employees contribute to a strong economy

The act of simply cutting state spending, without considering any revenue enhancements, can hurt New Mexico’s long-term economic performance in several ways. Important public services will be curtailed, making New Mexico a less attractive place to visit, live and start or expand a business; state contracts and spending with local businesses will decrease, hurting those businesses’ bottom lines and forcing them to lay off employees or severely cut their hours; and all employees will have less money to spend in our local communities. State policy that ignores the positive economic impact of public sector spending, a major component of which is salaries paid to public employees, is just as shortsighted as a policy that is completely dependent on it. So, too, is a state policy that fails to recognize that private sector employees deserve a raise. Pete Campos is a Democratic State Senator representing the 8th district in the Las Vegas area.

UNM accepting far-right speaker will hurt students

It should come as no surprise that the University of New Mexico is welcoming Milo Yiannopoulos to campus tonight. Yiannopoulous was banned from Twitter for Yiannopoulous’ and his supporters’ attacks on comedian Leslie Jones in 2016. We are NOT inviting you to this individual’s event. In fact, we are writing to make you aware of the University’s most recent actions surrounding the occasion. These actions are nothing short of egregious and incomprehensible.

Take all the facts in on drug importation

Martin Heinrich is being criticized on the internet for his recent vote on prescription drug importation. The attacks have plenty of passion but not enough facts. I know something about PhRMA, drug pricing, and misguided accusations. For over 20 years I was the Chief of Staff and Committee Staff Director for Congressman Henry Waxman, who was the leading progressive House Democrat on health and environmental issues. During that time we did a series of ground-breaking investigative reports showing that big drug companies were charging Americans inexcusably higher prices than they were charging in other countries.

The Land of Enchantment can’t stand by Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

According to a poll conducted on the eve of the election by Latino Decisions, more than 70 percent of Latina/o/x voters in New Mexico, and throughout the country, consider it urgent that the next President and Congress take immediate action to combat air and water pollution, as well as address the negative effects of climate change. And this is also true of the community organizing led by Latina/o/x mothers and youth from Albuquerque’s International District, South Valley and Westgate. We want our decision makers to act for clean air and healthy families and communities. We also support continued and community-led advancement toward a green economy (a low-carbon, socially responsible economy where natural resources are used efficiently) that brings good-paying jobs and economic growth to the Southwest and to our country. We can create such an economy that works for all New Mexicans if we put strong families, a healthy environment and a stable economy first.

Proposed return-to-work bill increases threats to community safety 

The Legislature plans to revisit the issue of allowing the rehiring of law enforcement retirees. This development could potentially agitate the current tension existing statewide between the community and law enforcement. In the reintroduction of this bill, the New Mexico public is being betrayed and threatened by the potential reinforcement of these agencies’ perpetuation of a “culture of war”—specifically an “Us vs. Them” (law enforcement vs. community) mentality.

READ: Susana Martinez’s 2017 State of the State Address

The following is the prepared text of Gov. Susana Martinez’s 2017 State of the State Address. Lieutenant Governor; Senate President Pro Tempore; our new House Speaker; Democratic and Republican leaders; esteemed members of the New Mexico Legislature; honorable members of the judiciary; former New Mexico governors; tribal governors; distinguished guests; the State’s first gentleman, my husband, Chuck Franco; my beautiful sister, Lettie and, my fellow New Mexicans. It is an honor to join you for the State of the State Address and open this legislative session. Related: Martinez calls for unity

Over the last six years, Republicans and Democrats have chosen to make tough decisions. We’ve resisted taking the easy way out.

The Black New Mexico Opportunity

The timing of the release of WalletHub’s Report on Racial Progress in America 2017 is impeccable, correlating with the first African American president’s farewell address and the annual observation of the birth, life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The report lists the state of New Mexico as 12th-best in “racial integration” between blacks and whites and sixth-best in the level of racial progress realized over time. These occurrences seemingly unveil an opportunity unique to New Mexico as well as its black community when you consider that our state currently resembles the racially diverse culture and populace that the entire nation will maintain within the next 20 or so years. The opportunity then becomes to lead in creating a roadmap on how to achieve the hope of our Constitution to be a “perfect union”—complete with best practices and real-time experiences for the remaining 49 states. Furthermore, as we take part in annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, it behooves the New Mexican Black community to swift our focus, energy and intellect on engaging activity that will make our community essential to and at the center of this transformation. Elder Michael Jefferson is a minister at Procession Ministries in Albuquerque.

We must properly fund New Mexico’s court system

New Mexico’s courts face a funding crisis that threatens to undermine the judiciary’s ability to protect our rights by delivering timely justice. We must act now to prevent further damage. As Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels recently told a legislative committee, “We are now basically on life support through the end of this fiscal year.”
Pete Campos is a Democratic state senator who represents the Las Vegas area. In courthouses across the state, New Mexicans can see the corrosive effects of budget cuts and underfunding of the judiciary. Most magistrate courts are closed to the public for at least half a day each week because the courts are unable to fill vacant staff positions.