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Today's Opinions

  • 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.

  • Letters to the Editor 3-12-17

    Family thanks community for love and support

    Ida S. Pacheco and her family want to thank you for the kind and encouraging words, beautiful flowers, lovely cards, thoughts, prayers and masses. All that you shared to console our hearts in the loss of Raymond David Pacheco, have comforted and sustained us. Thank you most sincerely for your generous support and sympathy.
    The Pacheco Family
    Los Alamos

    Much to be thankful for
    living in Los Alamos

    We have always loved living in Los Alamos. The views are beautiful and what other small town has enjoyed a Joshua Bell concert? But there are other reasons that make it nice to live here even when it is not a good day.

  • Some administrative savings work better than others

    If I were planning to run for the Legislature, my list of priorities would look a little different from those you usually see. Instead of reciting the usual passionate platitudes about education and economic development, I would talk about saving taxpayer money while improving the performance of government agencies by means of methodical administrative reforms.
    Don’t worry, I’m not running, but I have been repeatedly frustrated that I’ve never seen a single campaign promise along these lines. Every now and then when a candidate has knocked on my door, literature in hand, I’ve invited the candidate in and talked about this. It doesn’t do any good. Administrative reform is tedious and unglamorous, is poorly understood by the public, and most of the time it doesn’t produce any bragging rights.
    It should especially be a focus of attention for governors and candidates for governor. Just now, with the state’s desperate need to save money, the governor is trying some things that may or may not produce results.
    Gov. Susana Martinez announced a few weeks ago that she was considering consolidating departments, but the idea disappeared down a black hole pretty quickly. That is probably because of the pummeling her staff must have taken from irate constituents the minute this thought was expressed.

  • Pinball parts maker gets boost from makeover

    BY CLAUDIA INFANTE
    New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

  • Bill tackles a stubborn problem in trying to curb truancy

    Legislators are trying to get their arms around truancy in the state. Discussion about the most promising bill, the bipartisan HB 437, illustrates just how complicated the problem is.
    We have 54,000 kids who are habitually truant, which means they have 10 or more unexcused absences in a school year. That should take your breath away.
    Studies and common sense tell us that these kids are most likely to drop out.
    Four lawmakers whose political coloration ranges from conservative to liberal have teamed up to carry the bill: Reps. Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque; Jimmie Hall, R-Albuquerque, James Townsend, R-Artesia, and Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales. On Saturday, the most conservative, Townsend, and most liberal, Ruilobo, sat together to sell their bill to the House Education Committee.
    HB 437 calls for earlier and more intensive interventions. It requires schools to have a family resources program, work with agencies and community organizations, and notify parents. It would suspend drivers licenses.
    Legislators used as models successful programs in Carlsbad and Albuquerque’s Atrisco Heritage High School.

  • Rental properties can make good investments, but they come with risk

    BY NATHAN SILLIN
    Practical Money Skills

  • Big bipartisan HB 412 seeks fix for gross receipts tax mess

    House Bill 412 is a big one. The title requires 307 words. It begins, “An act relating to taxation…” The second to the last section – that’s section 155 out of 157– requires 1,028 words to list the sections of existing law that would be repealed.
    The sponsors are Rep. Jason Harper, Rio Rancho Republican, and two venerable Democratic senators, John Arthur Smith of Deming and Carlos Cisneros of Questa. Bipartisanship!
    The bill came from the interim Revenue Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee. Harper was the chair and Cisneros the vice chair. Smith was a member.
    A general and understandable (by you and me) summary of what became HB 412 is found in the minutes of the committee’s final meeting, held Dec. 16. It said: “The elimination of most GRT deductions, exemptions and credits is a key part of the legislation and could vastly expand the tax base with a correspondingly lower sales tax rate…  the state sales tax rate would be around 2.5 percent, with an average total local and state rate of around five percent.”

  • South of the border, down Mexico way

    Last week I drove from Palomas, the Mexican town opposite Columbus, all the way west to Agua Prieta, the twin to Douglas in Arizona. The highway first swings south to skirt the Bootheel and then strikes back north to within a few miles of the border, where it claws its way up the northernmost slopes of the formidable Sierra Madre.
    Two narrow lanes squeezed between sheer cliffs and precipitous canyons, the road climbs a half mile in fewer than 10.
    There are neither shoulders nor guard-rails; only the little roadside shrines warn of the perils beyond the next hairpin turn.
    The blacktop is battered daily by the passage of hundreds of heavy trucks, some of them pulling double trailers up the steep grades. Bad as it is, this is one of just two highways over the mountains for hundreds of miles to the south.
    At the top of the pass you cross the Continental Divide at 6,500 feet. From there you can look down and see the black line of the border fence running ruler straight across the plain far below.
    The drive back from Douglas on the American side is a cruise-controlled siesta compared to the crossing from Chihuahua to Sonora. On NM 9 you follow the old railroad bed for mile after mile of gentle curves and long, level straightaways.