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Today's Opinions

  • New thinking needed for N.M. behavioral health

    BY D. DOWD MUSKA
    Research Director, Rio Grande Foundation

  • Is there a future for New Mexico ethanol?

    By BOB HAGAN

  • State snubs economic development project in rural New Mexico

    Wonder why we’re poor? Here’s the type of thing that happens here.
    In 2014, the biggest thing in tourism and historic preservation was the purchase of the derelict Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas by veteran developer Allan Affeldt, who successfully restored La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona.
    The Castañeda, like much of Las Vegas, is a rundown remnant of yesteryear that’s been the object of hopes and what ifs. In 1898 it was Fred Harvey’s first hotel; it closed in 1948. This is a project only “an eccentric investor like me” would want, Affeldt says.
    In the hospitality business, you need a certain size to make the investment worthwhile.
    “The Castañeda was kind of an enticing project,” he says, but bathrooms are down the hall. To provide modern amenities, a restoration would reduce 45 rooms to 25. “It was hard to justify the investment given the size.”
    Also in 2014, Affeldt bought a second historic Las Vegas property, the Plaza Hotel, out of foreclosure. He made improvements and turned it around. (I stayed there before and after. His team worked wonders.)
    “I figured maybe by putting the two together, I could make it work,” he says. He needed New Markets Tax Credits and began negotiating with the New Mexico Finance Authority.

  • More salaried workers may be eligible for overtime pay

    BY RANDY S. BARTELL & RANDI N. JOHNSON
    Montgomery & Andrews PA, Employment Law Group
    Finance New Mexico

  • Growth in New Mexico to remain depressed

    In the summer saga of state finances, this week brings a general look at the economy and its prospects. Our principal source is the more than 100 pages of background material provided for the Aug. 24 meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee.
    Wage jobs provide the starting point. In July, 825,300 people claimed jobs, among the lowest proportions of population in the nation. Metro Albuquerque was home to 384,500 jobs, or 47 percent of the total. Another 184,300 jobs were scattered among Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Farmington. For all the state’s distance and emptiness, 69 percent of our jobs are in the seven metro counties.
    “Employment has continued to grow at a depressed pace,” observed the LFC. For the July 2015 to July 2016 year, jobs in the state grew 1.2 percent, tied for 35th among the states. For depressing perspective, Utah’s growth was second nationally. Colorado and Arizona tied for sixth. New Mexico’s income growth is also depressed.

  • Budget crisis requires responsible cuts, reliable revenue sources

    BY SEN. MICHAEL PADILLA
    New Mexico State Senate, Majority Whip

  • Payday lending costs everybody

    I am really tired of paying off loan sharks for other people’s debts. Aren’t you?
    You’re wondering what I’m talking about? The social cost of predatory lending.
    We’ve all heard about this, the payday loans and the car title loans, the astronomical interest rates and the low-income people who take these loans, probably not understanding they’re getting themselves into a tangle of ever-increasing borrowing and perhaps believing they have no choice.
    We haven’t heard enough about how much this is costing us as taxpayers, as donors to charities and as residents of a state where poverty depresses the standard of living for all of us.
    When a low income person spends $500 to pay off $100 loans, year after year, that affects you and me. When my taxes support that person’s access to Medicaid, I’m paying off the loan shark. When I write a check to Roadrunner Food Bank or put cans of tuna fish in a donation box, I’m paying off the loan shark again.

  • Don’t mind your own business – they’re all our kids

    Here we are back in a sad, familiar place. We’ve lost another child to a brutal, unthinkable murder. Her face has been inside our heads since it first appeared in the newspaper, just like all the other faces of little ones lost to vile criminal acts.
    After the flowers, balloons and stuffed animals, come the hearings and task forces and inquiries and ordinances and laws and speeches.
    And then we turn to other matters until the next time, which comes too soon.
    But maybe this time we can begin the change, which starts with the truth, heard in frank testimony recently before Albuquerque city councilors and Bernalillo County commissioners.
    Sgt. Amy Dudewicz, who works in the Sheriff’s Office special victims unit, said they get more child-abuse and neglect calls than they can respond to. Two UNM pediatricians said that for every child who makes the news, hundreds more are hurt. Albuquerque police have just three child-abuse liaisons reviewing more than 900 cases a month.
    And this is in our largest city. Imagine the situation in rural areas.
    Two politicians made sense.
    U. S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham observed that we have many programs to address successive family crises.