Bought & Sold: With $160,000 from corporations, is Nate Gentry NM’s most corporate legislator ever?

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.

5 Tax Day Truthbombs

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.

NM Republicans Show True Colors, Vote Against 89% of New Mexicans

A stark display of Republican priorities in New Mexico came to the fore today (to the detriment of all New Mexicans), as evidenced by two key committee votes. Here’s what happened today:

As Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican so concisely put it:
In a straight-party vote, a bill that would have required more information from lobbyists and the people who hire them just stalled in the House Regulatory & Public Affairs Committee. That’s right. Republican House members continue to show their true stripes now that they’re in the majority and continue their march against transparency and governmental openness by siding with special interest lobbyists. Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s HB 155 would have done a few supremely common sense things, including:

Requiring lobbyists to disclose the legislative or administrative issue for which the lobbyist is employed
Requiring expenditure statements and lobbying expense reports to include the cumulative total of expenditures incurred by the lobbyist or their employer listed by each recipient, indicating the amount spent and a description of the expenditure by category
Lowering from $500 to $100 the amount of aggregate contributions that triggers mandatory reporting of identification information for other contributors
Requiring registration and expenditure statements and lobbying expense reports to be posted on the Secretary of State’s website in searchable and downloadable formats at least monthly throughout the year and as expeditiously as possible when the legislature is in session;

ALEC Chair (and Chairwoman of House Regulatory of Public Affairs) Rep. Yvette Herrell had this to say about the Republican decision:
Committee Chairwoman Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, said the bill was asking for “too much information.”

ICYMI: Highlights from Monday in the NM House

In case you weren’t glued to the nmlegis.gov webcasts or prowling the committee rooms in the Roundhouse yesterday, here are some highlights from the New Mexico House of Representatives for Monday, February 3, 2014:

House Highlights
Monday, February 3, 2014
On the Floor

House Bill 31 Affordable Housing Act Violations and Penalties, sponsored by Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales (D-Taos-42) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 61-0.  HB 31 amends the Affordable Housing Act to allow the timely sale of foreclosed or failed affordable housing projects without retaining the long-term affordability restrictions.  HB31 also allows the recovery of Mortgage Finance Authority investments in foreclosed or failed projects.  In addition to allowing the Attorney General to investigate alleged violations of the Act, HB31 provides and enables the AG to pursue civil and/or criminal penalties.  HB 31 now heads to the Senate. House Bill 57 Tax Refunds for Senior Services, sponsored by Rep. Jim Trujillo (D-Santa Fe-45) has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 62-0.  HB 57 provides for an optional designation for tax refund contributions and is directed to provide the supplemental funding to enhance or expand senior services throughout the state.  The refunds will be paid to the North Central Economic Development District which will disburse the proceeds to various senior services programs. HB 57 now heads to the Senate. In Committee

House Bill 19 Update School Finance At-Risk Index as amended; sponsored by Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela (D-Santa Fe-48) received a unanimous Do Pass in the House Education Committee. HB 19 amends the Public School Finance Act to appropriate $12 million from the General Fund [GF] to the State Equalization Guarantee [SEG] for expenditure in FY15 to provide services to improve educational outcomes for “at-risk” students.  Changes will take place to the funding formula in the 2015-16 school years.  The bill also implements increased reporting requirements for school districts and charter schools on how they use the increased at-risk funding to close the achievement gap and improve student outcomes.