BREAKING: Skandera leaving PED

Governor Martinez’s most controversial cabinet appointee is leaving her post before the end of the month.  Hanna Skandera told the Albuquerque Journal her departure has been in planning for some time, though she waited until the end of the school year to make it official. She will leave PED on June 20th. A replacement has not yet been named. Martinez came to office promising “bold reform” on public education policy and appointed Skandera, who had never taught in a classroom, as the state’s PED secretary.

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.

5 Big Ways Trump’s Government Shutdown Will Impact New Mexico on Day 1

President Donald Trump wants his 100th day in office to be memorable.  That milestone comes this weekend, but it might not be memorable for the reasons he wants. Funding for the Federal government ends on Friday and Trump is demanding that Congress pass a budget extension to fund two key campaign promises: building a border wall and billions in new military spending at the expense of state department and domestic programs.

If his big push goes anything like his Obamacare repeal, Trump won’t get his budget and that means Trump’s 100th day could be day 1 of a government shutdown. Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms https://t.co/YDMhPLBVPv pic.twitter.com/KLgACrZptG
— The Hill (@thehill) April 23, 2017

Earlier this month our own Gov. Martinez threw a fit and threatened a government shutdown if she didn’t get the budget bill she wanted. Now Trump is following suit, so we wanted to see what a shutdown would mean for New Mexicans.

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.

Gov. Martinez vetoed the legislature’s entire budget in spiteful budget battle

After facing criticism for leaving more than 200 bills unsigned on her desk while leaving the state to speak at a conference of Tennessee workers, Martinez surprised nearly everyone by coming back to the state to announce hundreds-of-millions of dollars in vetoes, including vetoes to the entire budgets of every state college and university and the entire budget of the legislature, a branch she admits in her veto message is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government. The vetoed version of the budget includes line-item vetoes of the entire legislative budget.  

At $18.7 million, the budget for the entire branch of government amounts to just 0.03% of the state’s $6 billion budget. Gov. also vetoes legislator memberships, keeps $100,000 in memberships for her out-of-state conferences and travel
Martinez also vetoed memberships and funds for travel for state legislators to attend legislative events but she kept more than $100,000 for her own memberships to governor’s conferences she frequently attends of out state at taxpayer expense, including the National and Western States Governors Associations.  
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