Gov’s tax bill gets a smackdown

A 430 page behemoth tax bill the governor supports (and is using to try and torpedo the legislature’s work fixing the budget she broke) got a dose of reality this morning.

Finance Agency: State revenues up; Gov’s furlough, closing threats just politics

At the close of the legislative session, Gov. Martinez made statewide news announcing huge gaps in state revenue that required her to close state parks and museums and furlough state workers if the legislature did not pass her preferred version of the state budget. That threat appears to be based on a lie a new report from the state’a leading finance agency. 

The state is on track to end the year at least $71 million ahead of projections, according to the report and other financial data. From the Santa Fe New Mexican: 
A revenue forecast for the state of New Mexico released Friday indicates that Gov. Susana Martinez is wrong about the need for employee furloughs or a hiring freeze to balance spending for the remaining two months of the fiscal year, according to a top university economist. The budget tracking report from the Legislative Finance Committee indicates “revenues continue to appear on track or exceed expectations from the December forecast.” It projects that the state general fund will close out the 2017 fiscal year at $54 million, or 1 percent, above expectations… An economics professor, asked by The New Mexican to review the revenue tracking report, said Martinez’s talk of furloughs isn’t supported by the revenue forecast.

Did Susana Martinez finally go too far? Legislators to challenge gov’s vetoes in court and in extraordinary session

Governor Martinez threw a fit last week and vetoed the entire legislative branch of government, higher education for every New Mexican student and job training seeker and revenues designed to protect classroom spending, Medicaid and public safety. Now legislators have had enough so they are fighting back.Leaders of the legislature, Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) and Sen. Maj. Leader Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe), announced yesterday that the Legislative Council Service had been instructed by leaders to initiate legal action to challenge the governor’s vetoes in 3 key areas. Read more: Legislators to sue Martinez over vetoes | NM Political Report

Veto of co-equal branch of government to be challenged
Can a governor just veto all funding for the legislative branch?  Legislators say no and they’ve instructed their staff to use what little funding they have left in their current budget to hire a lawyer and sue the governor to find out.

Wait, What? The Governor Vetoed College?

As a student, father, husband, son, current Master’s student, and former college professor and high school teacher, I sit at my keyboard and type this statement with tears in my eyes, and in a complete state of disbelief. Our Governor has chosen to balance the budget by cutting ALL funding to higher education in New Mexico. Yes, you read that right – now let it sink in a bit. Read more:

Gov. Martinez vetoed every college and university in New Mexico because the Senate won’t confirm her partisan nominee. As a college student in 2000, I worked at Albuquerque High School, as a mentor for the Enlace program.

[UPDATED] Session 2017 Recap: How Did Progress for Women Do?

UPDATE: Here’s how three important bills we were tracking ended up this session: (1) Health Coverage for Contraception (HB 284) – a bill aiming to expand contraceptive access by covering both women and men and requiring insurance companies to cover up to one year’s supply of contraception at once – passed the House and one Senate committee but wasn’t voted on by the whole Senate. (2) Hospital Patient Protections (SB 282) would have prevented New Mexico hospitals (often religious institutions) from blocking reproductive health care that could put a patient’s life or health in danger. It, however, was not voted on by the full Senate. (3) In a major win, the Pregnant Worker Accommodation Act (HB 179) passed both houses and now awaits action by the Governor. This important bill will ensure pregnant workers will be able to continue working and support their families while they are pregnant.

Session 2017 Recap: How Did Gun Violence Prevention Legislation Do?

Over the duration of the 2017 regular session, we fought to create laws that would result in keeping guns out of dangerous hands. In the end, major legislation that would have changed the way that people purchase firearms by requiring background checks for all gun sales, had its language changed and eventually met its fate in the House Judiciary Committee. However, not all gun violence prevention legislation reached the same result.

My First Time at the Legislature – POV from a Newbie

On November 1st, I accepted a position as the Community Engagement Strategist for ProgressNow NM. When I spoke with Executive Director, Pat Davis about the job, what it entailed, what my skill set was and how it applied, and how it didn’t – in regards to the things I would “learn on the job,” I was still feeling like a foreigner in only a slightly less intimidating environment.