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Local News

  • GOP lawmakers propose overhaul of tax system

    SANTA FE (AP) — Republican lawmakers proposed Thursday to significantly revamp New Mexico’s governmental finance system by relying more on taxing people and businesses on what they consume and spend, rather than the income they earn.
    Rep. Tom Taylor and Sen. Bill Sharer, both of Farmington, outlined their proposal Thursday but conceded it’s a work-in-progress and not fully clear how the tax burdens of individuals and businesses will change.
    “It may overtax some areas and we need to understand all of that before we cast this thing in stone,” Taylor said.
    Sharer called it a “hard reboot of the New Mexico tax system.”
    The proposal would greatly expand what is subject to New Mexico’s gross receipt tax, which applies to sales of many — but not all — goods and services.
    Most groceries and food staples are tax exempt currently, but that would end under the proposed overhaul. Sharer said the tax would apply to “virtually everything that happens” in the state.
    By broadening the tax base, the lawmakers propose to reduce the tax rate and eliminate most other taxes, including the state’s corporate and personal income taxes.

  • County budget crunch could curtail services

    One of the legs in the county’s efforts to balance the budget despite decreasing revenues is reducing operating expenses. The Los Alamos County Council examined several proposals floated by staff during its Tuesday meeting.

    Councilors generally supported staff recommendations, with a few exceptions. Concerns centered around potential impacts on citizens and staff, as well as county infrastructure.

    “The fundamental first priority is providing those operational services. The community expects certain services, and I think this will be painful as it is,” Councilor David Izraelevitz said. “Reducing that even further would be unacceptable to our customers. Take any additional operational costs off the table.”

    Deputy County Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Steven Lynne highlighted cuts that could bring up to a $4.8 million in reduction in budget, which is about 10 percent lower than FY2013.

    One change that could affect customer service is reducing staffing levels through attrition and reorganization. Council agreed with County Administrator Harry Burgess and his recommendation that more drastic measures such as countywide layoffs or furloughs should be avoided if possible, so impacts on customer service are minimal.

  • On a Beach, Dog Sniffs Out Valuable Whale Vomit
  • Chu to step down as Energy Secretary

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down.

    The Energy Department, which runs the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said Friday, that Chu has offered his resignation to President Barack Obama. Chu won a Nobel Prize in physics but came under questioning for his handling of a solar energy loan.

    Chu is a former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He drew fire from Republicans who criticized his handling of a $528 million federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra, which later went bankrupt, laying off its 1,100 workers.

    The White House said Chu retained Obama’s confidence, but Chu was widely expected to leave following Obama’s re-election last fall.

     Chu intends to resign once a successor is confirmed, according to a memo sent to Energy Department staff and obtained by website POLITICO. He was the last of President Barack Obama’s long-serving Cabinet members to announce plans to leave or stay for the second term.

  • Ed Koch, Mayor Who Became a Symbol of NYC, Dies
  • Today in History for February 1st
  • Raw: 40-car Pileup Closes Ind. Interstate

    A pileup with more than 40 vehicles has closed Interstate 70 in both directions about 20 miles west of Indianapolis. Officials said all lanes of I-70 are expected to remain closed until Thursday night. Aerial footage is silent from source.

  • Local woman charged with making false police report

    A 20-year-old Los Alamos woman was charged with making a false police report after being found with her hands bound on the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos campus Wednesday night.

    According to a report filed by LAPD officer Adele Girmendonk, the reporting party stated that a female may be tied up in the back of a blue Hyundai in the west campus parking lot or possibly behind the tennis courts. The call came in about 9:10 p.m.

    LAPD officer David Boe was also on the call and he continued down the path heading west behind the tennis courts where he found a single female, later identified as Genevieve Salas, sitting by a tree with her feet and hands bound with black electrical tape and her hands were bound in front of her body.

    The tape was cut off her body. Salas was then interviewed and Girmendonk searched for the suspect, who was described as a tall Hispanic male wearing a black hooded jacket and a blue baseball cap.

    Salas told officers the suspect had run to the west part of the park.

    Salas told officers that she was walking from the university to her car and when she reached her vehicle, she said the suspect came “out of nowhere” and threw her over his shoulder.

  • Briefs 01-31-13

    Mental Health Hotline opens

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico will make its mental health hotline available statewide starting Friday.
    Gov. Susana Martinez announced the expansion of the helpline Wednesday, saying the first step to addressing a mental health crisis is ensuring easy access to services.
    Starting Feb. 1, she says the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line will be available across New Mexico at 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474).
    The crisis line will be staffed by mental health professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    It has previously been available in some of the state’s more densely populated areas.

    Fugitive wanted in N.M. gun case captured in N.Y.

    LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas police say the last person wanted in connection with the Christmas Day burglary of six guns from a local Wal-Mart has been captured by federal authorities in New York.
    Los Lunas Police Chief Roy Melnick says Gary Wilson was arrested Wednesday by agents with the U.S. Marshals Service as he was leaving an apartment in Getzville, N.Y.
    The chief says the 27-year-old Wilson fled the state two weeks ago after police issued an arrest warrant for his alleged involvement in the burglary.
    Wilson is accused of driving the getaway truck and acting as a lookout outside the store.

  • Update 01-31-13

    Brisket night

    The LAHS NJROTC will host brisket night from 5:30-7 p.m. today at the Posse Lodge. A $10 donation includes barbecue pork, potato salad, baked beans, corn, a cookie and drink. Proceeds go toward competition travel.

    Fixing trash carts

    The Environmental Services Division announced it will fix trash and recycling roll carts free of charge. For more information, call 662-8163.

    Sierra Club

    Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy, will speak on “Securing a future with coal in New Mexico,” at the LASE/Sierra Club meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in media room 203, building two at UNM-LA.

    Have a news tip?

    Send press releases, photos and videos to laeditor@lamonitor.com or contact the newsroom at 662-4185.

    Pancake breakfast

    The Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge will hold a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Feb. 3 at the Posse Lodge, 650 North Mesa Road. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and younger.

    Garden Club

    The Summit Garden Club will meet Feb. 4, with guest Kimberly Tanner speaking on the topic of “Starting plants from seed, in a very, very small space.” Visitors welcome. For more information, call Nancy Nunnelly at 662-4950.