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Today's Opinions

  • Administration’s 36 or 37 tax ‘cuts’ include 2 increases

    A Martinez administration mantra is, “We’ve cut taxes 37 times.” This repetition came Dec. 20 at the Tax Research Institute’s Legislative Outlook Conference. The speaker was the governor’s chief of staff Keith Gardner.
    But what exactly are those tax cuts? After a couple of requests spokesman Chris Sanchez provided a list of bill numbers by session date. The list is posted at capitolreportnm.blogspot.com. He did not provide estimated revenue impact, which I requested. I was unable to get the impact from the Legislature’s website, nmlegis.gov.
    Finding the bills is a little tedious, but easy enough.
    Taken as one, the list offers rather less than meets the eye. Repeating “We’ve cut taxes 37 times” is supposed to impress. I’m reminded of governors running for president—Bill Richardson comes to mind—claiming virtue from having balanced the state government budget. Such claims mean nothing; state constitutions require balanced budgets.
    The list showed 36 tax cut bills. The exception was Senate Bill 369 from 2012, which defined a number of terms relating to veterans.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-18-17

    Thank you to community for support

    In today’s world when there is so much focus on disturbing news, we want to focus on the positive and send a huge thank you to this wonderful community, for supporting our fundraising efforts for our young friend and co-worker Valerie.
    To the Los Alamos Monitor and the LA Daily Post for providing such supportive vehicles for the community to get our stories out, Thank You! To the Sheriff’s Posse Lodge and its volunteers who work many hours to offer a perfect venue for groups and organizations to do their thing, Thank you!
    And finally to a community with a huge heart and generous spirit that is always there when the chips are down and help is needed. Thank you! Your donations of casseroles, knitted hats for Valerie, kind, encouraging words and thoughts, precious time and hard-earned cash made our Frito Pie Night a huge success. We appreciate you all so much. Full of wonderful!
    Valerie, Xaedyn, and all of the friends, family and co-workers of Valerie

    PEEC thanks Rotary for new play area

  • Letters to the Editor 1-13-17

    We must properly fund New Mexico’s court system
     
    New Mexico’s courts face a funding crisis that threatens to undermine the judiciary’s ability to protect our rights by delivering timely justice. We must act now to prevent further damage.
    As Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Daniels recently told a legislative committee, “We are now basically on life support through the end of this fiscal year.”
    In courthouses across the state, New Mexicans can see the corrosive effects of budget cuts and underfunding of the judiciary.
    Most magistrate courts are closed to the public for at least half a day each week because the courts are unable to fill vacant staff positions.  
    These courts are the busiest in the state, resolving more than 170,000 criminal, civil and traffic cases last year.
    There will be no more criminal or civil jury trials starting in March unless the courts receive additional funding. Criminal defendants, whether innocent or guilty, are entitled to a speedy trial under the constitution.
    The prosecution of criminal cases is being impaired. Some courts confront the possibility of dismissing cases because the state’s public defender office lacks the staff and budget it needs to handle more cases.

  • Real ID is a tough standard for some

    New Mexico is finally complying with the federal standard for Real ID.
    Real ID is the new form of driver’s license (or ID card for non-drivers) that will be required beginning in 2020 to board a plane and for other federal purposes. Real ID confirms that you are genuinely you to the satisfaction of the federal government. When you next renew your license, or no later than October 2020, to get a Real ID license, you will have to present several documents to the Motor Vehicle Department.
    New Mexico’s Legislature delayed several years before adopting this standard. After studying the requirements, I see why. Pulling together the necessary documents will probably be easy for most homeowners. It will be hard for some low-income people, especially those who don’t have a stable address.
    The details are on the MVD website at mvd.newmexico.gov/real-id-information.aspx.
    You’ll have to present three types of documents: one with your Social Security number, one that identifies you by age, and two that establish proof of residence.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-11-17

    Thank you to all for help with Nancy’s cancer fight

    Thank you to our dear neighbors, friends and family for all your help during Nancy’s bout with cancer. Thank you for taking care of our house, for the food, cards, calls and your very generous and kind gestures.
    Thank you to the wonderful medical personnel in Los Alamos, Santa Fe and the University of New Mexico Hospital for your knowledge, expertise, patience and caring.
    Thank you to the Anonymous Angels who contribute to the cost of the excellent care and medical needs our cats, Luigi and Fellini, received during their stays at the Animal Clinic of Los Alamos.
    Nancy continues to give her cancer the good fight. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
    Nancy and Annette
    Los Alamos

    Agree with proposed gun legislation

    There is a confused quote from Stanley Hayes in the Sunday Monitor, wherein he objects to Stephanie Garcia-Richard’s proposed bill that would require gun sales between two individuals to pass through a registered dealer so that a background check can be carried out.
    I think that Hayes was trying to make the point that such sales should be like the sale of a car, claiming that this is without a comparable intermediary. That claim is

  • Less pay means less tax everywhere

    Like Chicken Man, taxes are everywhere – they’re everywhere.
    We forget that. The latest gross receipts tax increase quickly recedes into the background. When economic life is good, as it was when oil and gas drilling boomed for a few years until mid-2014, we forget recent history. Yet when history reappears and life for state government revenue reverts, life is just awful.
    The links are easily lost. Cities and counties get a lot of their revenue from gross receipts taxes. Local tax increases are one reaction. Eleven governments across the state hiked gross receipts rates as of January 1. Those basic local services are necessary. Gov. Susana Martinez may say no tax increases. Tuition increases at universities are doing the job for her.
    Last month the Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) summarized the sad situation for seven of the state’s largest income categories. The 19-page paper, presented Dec. 5 to the Legislative Finance Committee, got into some of the matters seldom considered except by those paid to pay attention. The reminder is useful as we approach the 60-day legislative session with a chance of comprehensive tax reform.

  • Letters to the Editor 1-8-16

    Rose Chocolatier feels right at home

    In case you haven’t heard Rose Chocolatier has moved. We are now located at 149 Central Park Square.  We love our new space especially being so near to other great local businesses. To be precise we are across from Finishing Touch, between Allure & ProjectY and about half way between UnQuarked and Pet Pangea. With the Bathtub Row Beer Co-op and El Rigoberto’s and other stellar businesses nearby we feel right at home.
    Rose Chocolatier is in a larger space which allows us to expand our offerings. We are now serving espresso drinks tailored to each customer. We still serve our luscious hot cocoa and now are adding it to our mocha drinks for a special delight.
    Our expanded kitchen space means we can bake more goodies and produce more chocolate candies.  But we haven’t completed our space design yet. Soon we will be adding more tables and chairs for those who want to and enjoy visiting with friends over coffee or tea.
    Oh, we sold out of everything over the holidays. So are a bit slow producing and restocking our cases. Thanks to everyone who came and supported during the winter break. It was a pleasure serving you and showing off the new space!

  • GOP was right about ethics office

    The Wall Street Journal on Congress’ ethics reform controversy:

    The 115th Congress flopped into Washington on Tuesday with House Republicans proposing and then dropping marginal changes to an internal ethics office. The reversal is an unforced political error, but the GOP is right that the investigative body has the power to destroy reputations without due process.
    By the way, Paul Ryan was re-elected Speaker Tuesday with one GOP defection, while Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi lost four Democrats. But that news was dwarfed as the House considered rules for the new Congress, and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte offered an amendment to restructure the Office of Congressional Ethics.
    The office is composed of political grandees, often former Members, and it has no prosecutorial power. But it conducts investigations into Members or staffers and makes recommendations to the House Ethics Committee. The proposal limited what information can be released to the public and barred the committee from having a press secretary. Also banned: anonymous tips.