Last week Representatives Bill McCamley and Javier Martinez introduced House Bill 89, the Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act, that would make marijuana available for recreational use in New Mexico. With the overwhelming evidence that states with legal pot can create new and lucrative revenue streams for public works, HB 89 is a win-win for New Mexico.
Rep. Bill McCamley of Las Cruces is hoping that the fourth time is the charm when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in New Mexico. “On the house side, Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives for the last two years and they’ve killed this. I mean, they’ve not let this out for discussion. I’ve introduced this three separate times.” McCamley said today in a press conference in Las Cruces.
Oct. 11th (today) is the last day to register to vote in New Mexico. It also marks the first day of early voting in the state. With so much emphasis on the national election dominating the media, we here at ProgressNow New Mexico want to encourage all our readers, fans, and followers to make sure that they’re prepared to help support the many progressive champions around New Mexico. Local elections matter and with the continued stalemate in Santa Fe it is more clear than ever that we have got to return the house to representatives who will resist the governor’s awful management of the state.
Meet New Mexico’s most corporate legislator: Rep. Nate Gentry.
Republican House Majority Leader Gentry is the architect for most of the failed ideas coming out of the House on crime, education, the economy, and jobs this session. Now, new research from ProgressNow NM shows that Gentry might just be New Mexico’s most corporate legislator: since the 2014 elections that put Republicans in charge of the House, Gentry took over $160,000 from corporations and wealthy special interests. ProgressNow NM’s new analysis of campaign finance reports looked at over 12,000 individual contributions and segmented out the 2,304 corporate contributions reported by candidates and elected officials between the November 2014 election and the last reporting period in October 2015 (the most recent data available). While Gentry raked in $160,000, the median amount of corporate donations – the point at which half of legislators received more and half earned less – to all other individual legislators during that same period is $4,650. When looking at the averages, Gentry accumulated 20 times more corporate donations than the average of all other legislators.
The Albuquerque Business First took the bait. Despite speculation of a potential budget deficit facing lawmakers in this legislative session, Governor Martinez used her State of the State address this week to applaud herself for cutting taxes. “Our tax rate on manufacturing has been cut by 60 percent – to the lowest in the region!” “And our taxpayer friendliness score has soared from a “D” to a “B” – and we’re nearing an “A.” – Gov. S. Martinez, State of the State, Jan 19, 2016
Then she went on to list more tax cuts she wants to make. Following that speech, the conservative Tax Foundation released it’s rankings of state tax rates.
The state’s bi-partisan budget analysts report that the State’s Public Education Department is fudging the numbers on the governor’s keystone early education program ahead of a request for more money in the upcoming year’s budget. When the Reads to Lead program was first launched in 2011, PED touted the $8.5 million expenditure as their keystone early education program and featured it prominently in its July 2012 PED newsletter, alongside pictures of Gov. Martinez reading to children at schools across New Mexico. She made it a central piece of her 2012 State of the State address, having appeared at 38 schools to read with students, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Last year, the department’s own report on the program (p.20) says, “since the implementation of Reads to Lead in 2012, approximately 6,000 educator, administrator, and reading coach participants have received professional development to assist struggling readers.” Those numbers have led PED to request larger and larger appropriations for the program each year.
It’s Tax Day. Whether you like it or not. But, even if you’re not a fan of actually paying taxes, it’s important to remember that taxes pay for the infrastructure that drives our prosperity — roads, bridges, public safety workers, Social Security, Medicare, and on an on. We’ve collected 5 great infographics about how (and why) your taxes get spent on the state and federal level. Check them out below.
As the 2015 legislative session marches on, economic issues are playing a major role. The contrast between conservative and progressive principles regarding economic development can be seen in numerous bills. Progressives have introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage, increase job training programs, increase teacher salaries, increase tax credits for working families, cap predatory loan interest rates, and create more tax fairness throughout the state (among many others). (By the way, every one of those bills has met fierce resistance from conservatives in the legislature.)
Conservatives have focused (predictably) on bills that reflect their you’re-on-your-own economic ideology, leaving working families out to dry in favor of bolstering the profits of special interests and big out-of-state corporations. Reducing unemployment insurance benefits, resisting minimum wage increases, making it harder for disabled workers to receive compensation, anti-worker “right-to-work” bills, and reducing corporate income tax rates have all been conservative hallmarks during this session.
Last night saw more legislative drama on the House floor as the debate to pass a $6.2 billion budget turned into a debate about educational funding priorities. House Democrats introduced a number of amendments to the budget that would have increased funding for Native American programs at UNM and Tribal colleges, increased Lottery Scholarship funding, and given more local control to school districts, among other things. Here’s how the House Democrats summed up their proposed amendments to the budget bill:
House Republicans vote against funding for Native American programs at UNM and Tribal Colleges
Republicans vote against funding for Native American education, health, and research programs at UNM and the Tribal Colleges
SANTA FE – Today House Democrats introduced an amendment to House Bill 2 that would secure funding for Native American education, health, and research programs at the University of New Mexico and Tribal Colleges. “Our Native American communities deserve a more secure economy and a brighter future,” said Representative James Roger Madalena, a member of the Native American Caucus. “We need to support programs developed and established by the Native American faculty at the University of New Mexico. These programs were created as a response to the needs of UNM students, and a direct response to tribal and community leaders on behalf of tribal communities here and throughout the nation. Many of these programs were identified as areas of priority during the summit initiated by this body in 2005 and held at the University of New Mexico.