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Today's Opinions

  • Running a business through a franchise has its advantages

    Multinational franchises like McDonald’s and KFC started small and worked their way up the food chain over decades.
    That methodical approach to growth seems too slow for the owners of two Albuquerque businesses.
    Before Olo Yogurt Studio opened its first store in 2010 and WisePies served its first pizza in 2014, the owners of both ventures planned to become franchises — and to waste no time doing it.
    Olo Yogurt opened a second store — a carbon copy of its colorful original — within three years and was strengthening its brand for further expansion.
    WisePies was less than a year old when it announced its intentions to open 20 new stores within a year and to offer franchise licenses for $35,000.
    In December, the company signed a $5 million deal for naming rights to the University of New Mexico basketball arena, commonly known as The Pit, now the WisePies Arena.
    The franchise or chain store model isn’t the only way for a business to grow, but its appeal is obvious.
    A franchisor can recruit talented go-getters who want to run a business with a built-in market, name recognition and institutional support. And they can do it without draining their capital budgets, as franchisees typically pay much of their own startup costs.

  • Letters to the editor 1-20-15

    Food tax proposal
    good for communities
    The food tax exemption enacted by the state Legislature in 2004 stretched the food budgets of middle- and upper-income New Mexicans, but did nothing to help low-income residents who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers, which are tax exempt.
    Subsequent actions by the Legislature to compensate for this lost revenue only made matters worse, especially for the least advantaged New Mexicans — the supposed beneficiaries of the food tax exemption.
    The 2004 law raised the state gross receipts tax (GRT) rate by .5 percent, and in 2010, the state GRT on non-food products and services jumped again from 5 percent to 5.125 percent.
    In 2013, local governments were allowed to raise local tax rates three-eighths of a percent for non-food items, which could increase GRT by three-quarters of a percent if a city and county both imposed the increase.
    For example, the GRT in Red River is 8.4375 percent. If both the town and Taos County enact the local increase, purchases made in Red River would be subject to GRT of 9.1875 percent. A GRT rate over 9 percent is hard on low-income families, bad for businesses and harmful to the town when tourists choose less-expensive destinations.

  • When city halls duck-and-cover

    Starting with the earliest years of the Republic, a constant theme has laced its way through American political rhetoric to the effect that local and state governments, being “closer to the People” than a far-away national government, are best able to deal with the “People’s” needs and problems.
    It has always been a slightly silly proposition, if only because some of the “People’s” needs and problems transcend the boundaries and jurisdictions of state and local government, such as interstate commerce, national defense and terrorism.
    Lately, however, even a governmental function, which has historically been deemed inherently “local” in nature has found local governments in every part of the land clearly floundering, if not downright incompetent to handle.
    Consider local law enforcement.
    As most New Mexicans know, the state’s largest city has basically lost control of its police department and has entered into a written agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to fashion far-reaching police reforms, which Albuquerque officials — mayor and city council — will be obligated to implement.

  • Assessing ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’

    French economist Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was the most talked about treatise on political economy in 2014, if not the 21st century.
    To those of us who understand and respect the superior productivity and fairness of free markets, the errors throughout Piketty’s Capital were so numerous and obvious that the book was easy to dismiss as warmed-over leftism, hardly worthy of being addressed and refuted. The history of economics teaches us, however, that it can be a costly mistake to ignore a popular book however flawed and wrong-headed.
    When John Maynard Keynes published “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” in the winter of 1935-36, its fundamental errors were so glaring to the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek that Hayek figured the book would quickly slip into oblivion. Wrong! By the time Henry Hazlitt wrote the first systematic dissection and demolition of The General Theory in 1959 (The Failure of “the New Economics”) Keynes’ macroeconomic errors had become the orthodoxy.

  • Obama was AWOL in Paris

    On Jan. 11, 40 leaders from various countries and 1.3 million people participated in anti-terrorism events in Paris.
    President Obama was AWOL, and he was only represented by our ambassador to France.
    It is difficult to believe our president overlooked the need to be in Paris for the anti-terrorism rally.
    Based on his previous comments, it is quite possible he decided he did not want to offend Islam by appearing at the anti-terrorism unity march.
    In the past he has refused to label the multitude of attacks conducted by Muslims as Islamic terrorist attacks. He said “we are not at war with Islam,” but it sure appears Islam is at war with us.
    After all, what is the religion of almost every terrorist who has attacked Western civilization in the past 50 years?
    President Obama, you just offended every freedom loving person in the world.
    Donald A. Moskowitz
    Londonderry, New Hampshire

  • Pet Talk: How to properly catch a feral feline

    Feral cats, unlike strays, have been born and raised in the wild, or have been abandoned and must revert back to their primitive ways in order to survive.
    Most of these cats, fearful of humans and too skittish to be handled, often live in groups and take refuge wherever there is available food and shelter.
    Because of this, they are unfortunately subject to harsh weather conditions, starvation, or diseases and sometimes even eradicated by humans in attempts to deplete the feral cat population.
    Here is a few ideas on what you can do to help these undomesticated cats:
    You will be able to tell if you have come in contact with a feral cat rather than a stray by their standoffish and notably quiet demeanor. They will most likely keep their distance from you and scamper off when approached.
    However, this shouldn’t deter you from trying to help.
    Feral cats have a great chance of survival if they live in a group, or colony, maintained by a dedicated caretaker. This means providing regular feeding and proper shelter, as well as spay/neuter services. A popular and effective way to do this is the Trap-Neuter-Return method, or TNR.

  • There's no safety on stupidity

    Benjamin Franklin said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”
    Here in America, we can proudly claim that we have a lot of hard working people!
    Consider the “I were born igorent, and dang if I ain’t gonna stay igorent” folks whose rendition of the Constitution reads, “from my cold dead fingers.”  These deep thinkers of domestic sociology hold that the best offense is a soft-tipped defense.
    Utah has been working very hard to lead the pack, with 70 percent of its citizens believing that creationism should be taught in public schools. Of course, the evolution-creation debate can get pretty violent, and so it only makes sense to arm the teachers with facts, data, well-aged scientific research (usually from the 1300s), and laser-equipped 15-round Berettas.
    I know, I know. Utah would never act so irresponsible as to issue Berettas to its teachers!  That would be ridiculous! After all, the State Firearm is a Browning M1911.
    You’ve got to admire the work ethic of a state that spends tax dollars to vote in a State Firearm.
    Of course, it’s difficult to tell if they’re serious. Their State Fossil is the Allosaurus, a dinosaur that roamed early America three or four thousand years ago.

  • PNM is greenwashing their plan for more coal and nuclear

    I miss the days of truth in advertising. It is amazing to me that PNM gets away with the outrageous claims it makes in its full-scale PR assault on the good people of New Mexico.
    Every time we at Positive Energy Solar see a PNM advertisement these days, it is full of half-truths and exaggerated statistics. 
    “More Sol, Less Coal” is PNM’s latest spin in their “green” campaign, but what it isn’t telling you is that PNM is, in fact, adding more coal and barely scratching the surface in its adoption of “Sol.”
    Here is the truth: it is proposing to bring more coal, nuclear and natural gas into the mix at a cost to ratepayers of $66 million annually. This cost does not include any future carbon or coal regulations that might be incurred, nor does it factor future rises in fossil fuel costs.
    PNM’s claim in the ad that it will have cumulatively invested more than $270 million in solar by the end of 2015 is true, but solar only accounts for a measly 2 percent of the whole. This is a tiny fraction of what PNM could be harnessing, in a state that is recognized as the second-best state in the nation for solar power.