Los Alamos wants in on Google test

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Company is looking for communities to test ultra high speed internet

By Mandy Marksteiner

Who has not wished that the Internet was 100 times faster?

If Laura Gonzales, the IT manager for Los Alamos County, convinces Google that Los Alamos residents can push the limits of technology, that wish may be realized.

Google is looking for communities to test ultra high-speed Internet, operating at one gigabit per second.

At its meeting Tuesday in White Rock, the county council unanimously approved Gonzales’s plan to submit an application for the Google Fiber Initiative by the March 26 deadline.

“It’s a good opportunity,” said Council Vice Chair Sharon Stover. “We need to pursue it.”

Gonzales said she is working with the chamber to create a YouTube video that shows what makes Los Alamos special. “It’s something that I’m excited about and I’m willing to give my time, gladly,” Gonzales said.

To help influence Google, residents may go online to www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/ public/options, push the “nominate your community” button and fill out the form saying why Los Alamos should be Google’s first choice.  

Gonzales asked business owners to call the Chamber of Commerce to tell them how their businesses can benefit from the high speed Internet.  The chamber plans to use these stories to strengthen the city’s case.

Councilor Robert Gibson pointed out that thousands of communities are competing for Google’s attention. “The odds are not high, but we should go for it,” he said.

Whether or not Los Alamos is chosen, Gibson said, “We need to move aggressively on our own to get broadband to every household in the community.  The local government has recognized its need but not the needs of the community - which is where the opportunity lies.”

No itemized

deductions on state taxes

Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe and county lobbyist Scott Scanland opened the meeting Tueday with a briefing on specific bills that will affect Los Alamos.

“It will be one big hit and a few pokes in the eye,” Scanland said, describing the tax hikes that were passed in the special legislative session last month.

The big hit arrives April 15, 2011. That’s when New Mexico residents will no longer be able to apply itemized deductions to their state income taxes.

“That’s going to hurt everyone,” Wallace said.  “You can still apply deductions on your federal taxes, but you can’t on your state.”

“That’s huge then,” said Councilor Robert B. Gibson, who pointed out that it mainly affects wealthy people who itemize their deductions.

The councilors were not completely clear on the details. “I hope some accurate information gets out,” Gibson said  “It’s going to affect a lot of people.”

The rule is effective July 1.

The little pokes in the eye came in the form of a Gross Receipts Tax on food and an increase in Gross Receipts Tax by 1/8 cent.

The session was devoted to solving the state’s budget crisis, making up for a projected $600 million gap between revenue and expenses through a combination of cutting expenses and raising taxes.

Wallace said, “We did, at least, balance the budget ... sort of.”