April 1, 2015

Two views on the capital outlay and special session drama

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]EDITOR’S NOTE — Excerpts from two recent editorials about the failure of the capital outlay bill in the last minutes of the legislative session (and the looming possibility of a special session) are below. Links to the full editorials can be found at the end of each excerpt.[/box]

What Really Happened to the Capital Outlay Bill | by Sen. Michael Sanchez (Democratic Floor Leader)

Following the governor’s press conference at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, residents of New Mexico may be excused for being confused about what actually happened to spending on infrastructure projects across the state. Governor Susana Martinez did not help matters when she levelled false accusations against Senate Democrats.

On Saturday, at a widely-covered press conference, the governor ripped into Senate Democrats for “killing” projects and jobs. This is nonsense that she knows to be untrue. The governor’s accusations leave out many important details about what actually happened and why.

The short version of the real story is that Gov. Martinez and her close allies, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, are blaming Democrats for eliminating funds for capital outlay projects that they themselves stripped from the Senate’s capital outlay bill. They replaced these projects with expensive construction projects the Senate had never seen before. Then they sent the radically revised bill to us less than 18 minutes before noon, the mandatory end of the 60-day legislative session.

In light of these facts, do the governor’s accusations make sense? A strong dose of sunlight on the details of what happened to the $213 million capital outlay bill in the moments before the close of the Legislature is needed.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded”]Read the rest of Sen. Sanchez’s op-ed HERE[/box]

Work Out Disagreements; Then Call Special Session | by the ABQ Journal Editorial Board

While New Mexico needs both the capital outlay bill and the tax package that died in the closing minutes of the Legislature, there’s no point in calling a special session unless there’s a very good chance the outcome will be different.

Democrats don’t have the votes to call themselves into extraordinary session, and Gov. Susana Martinez says she won’t issue the call for a special session unless Democratic leaders in the Senate work with her on a capital improvements budget that all can agree upon – beforehand.

That makes sense and that’s what should happen. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Martinez blamed Senate Democrats and partisan politics for the gridlock. Democratic Senate leaders blamed the governor for being too rigid and House Republicans for stripping out some capital projects from a Senate version to make room for $45 million in road projects.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded”]Read the rest of the ABQ Journal’s editorial HERE[/box]


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