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Today's Opinions

  • Legislature winding down

    SANTA FE --  Ready or not, only one day is left in the 2012 Legislature. This 30-day session ends Thursday at noon -- no ifs, ands or buts. The New Mexico Supreme Court decided about 50 years ago that the Legislature no longer could “stop the clock,” as it was called, to get its business finished.
    Congress and many state legislatures keep going until the leadership decides it has had enough. In New Mexico the watches of the House speaker and the Senate majority floor leader determine when it is noon.
    That power used to include stopping the clock for several hours to get business finished. But today, no fudging is allowed. Any legislation passed after noon does not become law. Legislative per diem also stops at noon.

  • More about tax reform

    The underlying theme of the 2012 legislative session was taxes, specifically the issue of tax reform. Gov. Martinez put the gross receipts tax on the agenda with her proposals to both exempt certain small businesses from the tax and to reduce the incidence of “pyramiding” which forces businesses and consumers to pay taxes on top of taxes in this state. $40 million of welcome tax relief was included in the budget, but issues remain.
    Senate Finance Committee Chair John Arthur-Smith made a dramatic point with the introduction of legislation that would have eliminated New Mexico’s gross receipts tax entirely.

  • That’s right. You’re wrong

    During lunch, two of my students were arguing the issue of taxation.  Their stances took the usual form; the rich already pay more than their fair share, the rich make money off the backs of the lower class, capitalism was founded on the principle of self-gain, greed is destroying this country, etc., etc., etc..

  • Talking LA Green

    In his thorough and thoughtful column of February 8, Mark Jones outlined the health hazards of mercury and other pollutants caused by coal-fired power plants.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling for limiting pollution by coal-burning power plants is a victory for us all. But we shouldn’t rest just yet. We can still do more toward a goal of clean and affordable energy that benefits us all.

  • Combined letter legislation

      Readers may be interested in knowing that a bill has been submitted to our legislature that would provide positive cash flow for New Mexico by closing a tax loophole that allows out-of-state and multi-unit companies to avoid paying their share of  New Mexico taxes.  The loophole would be closed by requiring ‘combined reporting’ when these corporations file their tax returns.
       This legislation, SB90, would also create a more nearly level playing field for New Mexico companies, and it would lower taxes from 7.9 percent to 7 percent for all corporations with more than a million dollars in revenue.  (Smaller corporations would continue to pay a 4.9 percent tax rate.)

  • A ‘bang’ in the universe

    Was the Big Bang an “alchemistic experiment” to create something “solid” out of the simplest assemblage of atoms, hydrogen gas? What have we learned about fusion? What is our physical ability compared to that needed to compress enough hydrogen molecules to contain all the matter of “our” universe into a small enough space and then allow enough time for it to stew and go supercritical? Quite a field experiment I’d say. A little bigger than Nevada or Siberia.
    I wonder what instruments are being used to monitor the results.

  • Dueling with unloaded guns

    A creative headline writer described the employment packages offered by Democrats and Republicans as “Dueling Job-Growth Plans.”
    To have a duel, the guns must be loaded. That’s one little detail Senate Dems forgot.
    In a news conference, they trotted out SB 9, yet another stab in Sen. Peter Wirth’s long campaign for combined tax reporting, which employers say would cost jobs; SB 74, from Sen. Steve Fischmann, who has an untarnished track record for being clueless on economic issues; and Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, whose SB 140 is unworkable.

  • Talking the Rail Runner

    Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, poses a good question about the New Mexico Rail Runner Express with his Senate Bill 247.
    But like nearly all Democrats and a good many Republicans, he missed the point. He only asks who should pay for the Rail Runner’s losses, all New Mexicans or just some, not whether it should continue.
    The bill provides “a dedicated funding source for the operation and maintenance costs of heavy rail mass transit systems that fairly imposes these costs on the locales and persons that are primarily served.”
    Government has things to do. But what things? At what level of government? Is there benefit to people supposedly served by the government activity?