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Today's Opinions

  • When legislators tackle big reforms, movement translates as progress

    Lawmakers this year took on some major reforms of old issues hovering over the state like turkey vultures waiting for road kill.  
    Interest groups ranging from Common Cause to the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce proclaimed progress. Maybe not as much as we hoped, but progress.
    The big reform bills were ethics, campaign finance, capital outlay, payday lending and taxes. Many were bipartisan.
    Years in the making, the ethics bill began bravely by standing up an independent ethics commission with subpoena power, protected by the Constitution. When it emerged after pummeling in various hearings, it was missing language that required complaints and hearings to be public, and the Legislature, not the law, will determine the commission’s powers and rules.
    Changes reflect legislators’ residual fear that the commission could become a political weapon.
    So voters in November 2018 will decide on a constitutional amendment creating an independent ethics commission.
    Common Cause and business groups cheered. New Mexico Ethics Watch booed, saying lawmakers gutted a strong bill.
    Kudos to Rep. Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque, who patiently listened to input and welcomed suggestions. The hearings themselves were a marvel. Instead of trying to kill the bill, lawmakers worked with Dines to fine tune the bill.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-29-17

    County plan to build Splash Pad bad idea

    I just read in the Daily Post that the Los Alamos County Council is considering building a Splash Pad park in White Rock. My initial response was “Boy the county can’t wait to spend our tax dollars on nonsense once again.”
    The worst part of it is that they want to borrow more money to get this project and others done!  It seems to me that we haven’t learned anything from watching our National Government take us, the citizens, into debt that could possibly collapse our economy!  
    Do you realize that the Splash Pad area is a bad idea - let me share the reasons why I think it is.
    It will only be used a maximum of two months out of the year during hot weather. These type of projects are built in Phoenix and other places where they can be utilized several months out of the year.
    The cost of building this park is not worth going into debt for.
    It will be built in White Rock which means it will only serve that community for the most part.
    Once again, as citizens of Los Alamos/White Rock, we will be stuck with subsidizing maintenance, etc.  

  • Running out the clock on New Mexico’s future

    BY REP. JASON HARPER
    R-Rio Rancho, New Mexico House of Representatives

  • Healthcare change asks hard questions about cost and services

    “In America, we don’t leave people bleeding in the doorway of the emergency room.”  I wrote that line for a presentation I used to give, some 25 years ago, about medical care in workers’ compensation.
    There had been a time when some American hospitals did exactly that. Even in emergencies, patients had to produce an insurance card before they would be treated. A federal law was enacted in 1986 prohibiting hospitals from turning away patients in emergencies.
    The system has been been battling ever since over who pays. The hospital? The taxpayers? The patient with no money? The Affordable Care Act offers one solution by requiring everybody to be insured and providing subsidies.
    The “individual mandate” is one thing many Americans detest about the ACA. So, among the features of the new proposed healthcare law it took Congressional Republicans only six years to draft, the individual mandate is to be repealed. Young healthy people who think they don’t need insurance won’t have to buy it.
    But young healthy people can get sick or injured. What does the proposed law anticipate when a young healthy uninsured person shows up with broken bones from a motorcycle accident? Who will pay the bill? Or will we go back to letting him bleed? That has to be one of our questions.

  • Administrative state creeps along, always growing, always costing more

    The tax boys want additional information for your 2016 return, starting with your driver’s license number. If claiming certain credits for children, you must prove the kid lives with you, which, says my tax preparer, “gets really interesting if the kid is between zero and four.”
    Besides treading on our liberty, the requirements raise costs and provide another definition of what is being called “the administrative state.”
    In his March 5 Washington Post column, Robert Samuelson, one of my favorite analysts, quoting historian Steven Hayward from the current issue of the conservative Claremont Review of Books, wrote, “The administrative state represents a new and pervasive form of rule, and a perversion of constitutional self-government.” Samuelson concluded, “Like it or not, we do have an administrative state. It isn’t going away.”
    The simplest compliance with the new IRS rules will require about 20 minutes, estimates my tax preparer. There will be a modest charge for one new form. Otherwise the changes mean less sleep and no new clients this year, which means that the IRS has prevented the business from growing.
    Another favorite source, Megan McArdle of Bloomberg.com, in a Feb. 14 post linked to a long consideration of why everything costs more.

  • SWOT analysis helps businesses plan for growth

    By Finance New Mexico

  • Letter to the Editor 3-22-17

    Bill 412 is double taxation

    House Bill 412 calls for closing many exemption loopholes to address the budget crisis that our state faces.  No doubt, there are many aspects of the Tax Reform Bill that need just that – reform. However, HB 412 also calls for the eliminating the sales tax exemption for Non-Profits – all Non-Profits large, small, 501c3, churches etc.  Thus subjecting non-profits to Sales and Gross Receipts Tax.
    Under HB 412, Non-Profits would need to collect and pay GRT on all contracts (local, state, federal), grants from foundations and United Way, fees from programs, classes and services. Most non-profits are local, community-oriented, and are responding to community needs. Many exist on grants and contacts to provide services that government is not.
    This has the potential to be disastrous for non-profits, and I have a front row seat in that regard, as a volunteer sitting on the board of The Family YMCA.

  • The public needs to keep the press honest

    BY GREG WHITE
    Los Alamos Resident, Guest Editorial