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Today's Opinions

  • It’s hard to keep up with all the gross receipts laws

    New Mexico’s gross receipts tax is admittedly confusing, but the state still expects businesses to follow the law and pay what they owe from the sale of property or services.
    In a nutshell, GRT is a substitute for the traditional sales tax that shoppers in other states pay when they make a purchase. In New Mexico, the seller pays the tax on the sales price of a product or service even if the seller doesn’t collect it from the buyer — and even if the buyer lives out of state.
    GRT was intended to widen the tax base by taxing more items at a lower rate than would be typical in states with a sales tax. Over the years, however, cities and counties have responded to reductions in local revenues caused by state-allowed exemptions and deductions by loading on their own assessments.
    The combined tax rate in some towns is now — or is about to go over — 9 percent. Until lawmakers agree on an alternative system, businesses should know how to comply with the status quo.
    GRT applies to the gross receipts of businesses or people who sell property, perform services, lease or license a property or franchise in New Mexico, and sell certain services delivered outside New Mexico when the resulting product is initially used here.

  • Letter: So many people put themselves on the line

    Dear Editor,

  • Letter: Iran deal shouldn’t be scrapped

    Dear Editor,
    This is in response to the Oct. 15 Los Alamos Monitor article Trump won’t pull out of ‘worst’ Iran nuclear deal – for now. this was written by Matthew Lee, AP Diplomatic Writer.
    On Oct. 13, President Trump gave a speech stating Iran was not following the Nuclear Deal negotiated and signed by the P5+1 in 2015. All other parties and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have stated often that Iran is living up to its actions under the agreement.
    Trump’s action is dangerous and ‘against the national security interests of the USA.’
    The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, aka, the Iran nuclear deal) is excellent; it is far better and more extensive than I ever expected.
    If followed by all parties, it blocks all avenues for Iran to develop nuclear explosives. To be sure, it is vehemently opposed by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and some Republicans in Congress.
    I am a physicist who worked in nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation for 38 years at LANL. The majority of my efforts were for and with the IAEA that has the responsibility of inspecting the nuclear facilities of states signatory to the Treaty on NonProliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

  • Recent shooting proves dangers to store employees

    At a Circle K convenience store, the clerk shot a suspected armed robber.
    We expect to read the opposite story. Convenience stores can be dangerous places, especially for the people who work in them.
    This happened a few weeks ago in Albuquerque in mid-afternoon. The suspect was wounded and is expected to recover; the clerk was not charged with any crime.
    What was that clerk doing packing a gun?
    The incident brought to mind a court case from 20 years ago in which Circle K clerk Paul Sedillo followed a shoplifter into the parking lot and was shot and killed.
    The Eldridge case (named for the mother of Sedillo’s daughter) raised the question of whether Circle K might be civilly liable outside of workers’ compensation, whether the company was so greatly “at fault” that it might violate the “no fault” principle basic to the workers’ comp philosophy.
    It was a hot issue in the workers’ comp legal community, but the case was settled out of court so the question was not resolved.
    Conventional wisdom is that employees should never be instructed to pursue armed robbers or shoplifters. Let them take the money and go. I heard that message in dozens of safety seminars and passed it on to small business owners in my own seminars.

  • Weinstein case shows power corrupts for so many people

    Power corrupts. Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer, give any one person – or government agency – too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.
    We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.
    A cop shoots an unarmed citizen for no credible reason and gets away with it. A president employs executive orders to sidestep the Constitution and gets away with it. A government agency spies on its citizens’ communications and gets away with it. An entertainment mogul sexually harasses aspiring actresses and gets away with it. The U.S. military bombs a civilian hospital and a school and gets away with it.
    Abuse of power — and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible — works the same whether you’re talking about sexual harassment, government corruption, or the rule of law.

  • Globalization helped set the stage for 'Dreamers' laws

    Millions of middle class Americans, mostly in rural areas, are feeling cornered by the overwhelming forces of globalization.
    Their employment was displaced by automation, international competition and corporations’ transfer of jobs to other nations with lesser production costs and more flexible laws. Many of these Americans express a visceral anger towards anything international and desperately reach for national isolation and solutions that would save them from people who don't look and speak like them.
    Some leaders have convinced them that they are victims of sinister foreigners who ridicule American goodwill and naivete in international agreements, which are unfair to the U.S. Those leaders claim that criminals who have crossed the border illegally are responsible not only for loss of jobs but also for rape, murder and unprecedented addiction to drugs among Americans.
    Fear over declining income, increase of joblessness and violence make people susceptible to lash out at anyone with whom they are unfamiliar. The federal program DACA founded in 2012 is perceived to benefit such “others.”

  • New Mexico First, conference are in need of a review

    Probably the least known fact about the long career of Sen. Pete Domenici has to be that he did not hire me to be his press aide in 1989.

    Instead of the knowledgeable New Mexican — me — Domenici hired Ari Fleischer, who knew Washington, D. C. A sound choice, I think. Fleischer went on to be press secretary for President George W. Bush.

    Equally obscure is the story I wrote for the Albuquerque News in 1968 about the first city budget he presented as chairman of the Albuquerque City Commission.

    Much later my kids played Little League baseball with a Domenici grandchild. Domenici attended the occasional game.

    Domenici’s leadership of the Senate Budget Committee brought access to the committee’s economics staff, a smart, collegial group that provided insight on the national economy and New Mexico’s fit into the big picture.

    In the 1980s Domenici and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, together with Gov. Bruce King, created the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI). (Get it?) Santa Teresa with its border crossing was one focus.

    As a matter of good management, two of Domenici’s policy legacies deserve a closer look.

    First is New Mexico First. During the mid-1980s several groups were having conversations about the murky future facing New Mexico.

  • Letter to the Editor 12-13-17

    Have charter school
    organizers, parents tried to improve LAMS?

    Dear Editor,
    I was surprised to read about the effort to organize a Polaris Public Charter School for sixth- to eighth-graders in Los Alamos. I am asking and, this is something I do not know, if the organizers and parents have tried working to improve Los Alamos Middle School, LAMS.  
    I worked for many years at the high school when Mike Johnson, the current principal at LAMS, was there. I do not think one could find a more competent, caring, hard-working administrator.  I believe that he would always be interested in ideas (even radically different ones) to improve the education for our children at the middle school.  
    As a teacher at the high school, I was always aware that the success of Los Alamos schools was in many ways a direct result of the parental interest in education.
    The parents convey this message to their children in innumerable ways and the children then come to school ready to learn because they understand it is important, even during the years when children seem not to be listening to their parents.   I would love to see this considerable effort and parental interest work toward improving the middle school that all ready exists.  
    Julie Wangler
    Los Alamos