Expert: Photo I.D. Will Not Affect Voter Turnout

KRWG - An expert testifying for the state of Texas says new voter identification requirements would not affect voter turnout.
Daron Shaw, a University of Texas professor and political science expert, told a federal court in Washington on Wednesday that there's also no evidence a 2011 law passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature would disproportionately impact one race over another. Read full story here: News New Mexico

New Mexico's state revenue higher than expected

Albuquerque JournalRobust oil prices and production, primarily in southeastern New Mexico, will propel state revenue levels to come in roughly $250 million higher than expected for the just-completed fiscal year, based on preliminary figures. With possible federal budget cuts and other economic concerns looming, top-ranking state officials and lawmakers say the extra money likely will be needed. “This is proof that New Mexico has a very, very volatile revenue base,” Finance and Administration Secretary Tom Clifford said Tuesday. “This doesn’t remove our need for caution.” The stronger-than-expected revenues mean the state likely will end up taking in nearly $5.8 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30, an increase of roughly 7 percent — or about $380 million — over the previous year. However, figures to be released today by the Department of Finance and Administration show that about $200 million of the $250 million in higher-than-expected revenue stems from oil and natural gas taxes and royalties, which tend to fluctuate from year to year. Oil and natural gas taxes and royalties currently make up about 16 percent of the state’s revenue, even more under some calculations. Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe, vice chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, said some of the unexpected money could be used during the 2013 legislative session to fill shortfalls in state agency budgets. “It’s a good thing that we do have some extra dollars so we can consider some of those deficiencies and supplementals,” Varela said. He also warned that the state could face federal budget cuts and may have to spend more money in order to expand its Medicaid program. Read More News New Mexico


Texas Is America's Top State for Business 2012

NewsNM comment (Spence) CNBC ranked states for ease to do business. New Mexico was ranked near the back of the pack (36th out of 50) states for business in 2012. Our bordering neighbors rankings were as follows: Texas (1) Utah (2) Colorado (8) Arizona (22) Oklahoma (23). Despite efforts by Democrats in the House and Senate to thwart most efforts by Susana Martinez to move New Mexico up the business friendly rankings, our state still managed to rise from a ranking of 43rd when she became governor in 2011. 
CNBC - Texas has done it again. The Lone Star State makes a triumphant return as America’s Top State for Business—its third time at the top of our rankings.
"Listen, there is a reason that Caterpillar moved their hydraulics manufacturing and their engine manufacturing to the state of Texas," said Gov. Rick Perry in November during the CNBC Republican presidential debate.
We can attest to that. In our sixth annual study, Texas racked up an impressive 1,604 points out of a possible 2,500, with top-10 finishes in six of our 10 categories of competitiveness. Texas has never finished below second place since we began the study in 2007.
Each year, we score all 50 states on the criteria they use to sell themselves. This year’s analysis is the most comprehensive yet, using 51 metrics developed with the help of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness, as well as input from the states themselves. This year’s categories and possible point totals are:
Cost of Doing Business (350)
Workforce (350)
Quality of Life (350)
Infrastructure andTransportation (325)
Economy (325)
Education (225)
Technology and Innovation (225)
Business Friendliness (200)
Access to Capital (100)
Cost of Living (50)
This year’s study comes amid slowly improving fortunes for the states. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Gary King Will Run for Governor in 2014

Gary King
Capitol Report New Mexico - There have been rumors for months that New Mexico Attorney General Gary King would challenge Susana Martinez for governor. On Tuesday (July 10), King confirmed to radio station KNAW in Albuquerque that he’ll toss his hat into the ring. King is the son of the late Bruce King, who served three non-consecutive four-year terms as governor between 1971 and 1994, and used to serve in the state legislature. He’s finishing up his second term as attorney general. King is the first Democrat to announce he’ll run for governor. There have been some rumblings that State Auditor Hector Balderas might run for governor or for attorney general in 2014. We’ll update the post as we get comments from King. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Business and Pork as Usual for Jeff Bingaman

Despite the fact that the U.S. borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends, it was business as usual yesterday in Senator Jeff Bingaman's office as the soon to be retired Senator trumpeted the news that the State of New Mexico, including the City of Rio Rancho, and the City of Las Cruces will receive $3.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Making zero mention of the balloning federal budget deficit in 2012 or the $16 trillion in federal debt Bingaman said, “These grants will help New Mexico meet the housing needs of some of our most vulnerable residents.”


Teacher's Personal Info is Hot Commodity

Heath Hausammen
NMPolitics - I didn’t know until this weekend that, if you want to be an Albuquerque Public Schools teacher, you have to give up your right to keep personal information private.
As the Albuquerque Journal reported, the APS contract with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation requires the district to “submit to the union updated reports of all teachers’ home addresses, home phone numbers, Social Security numbers and educational experience” twice a year.
In the case of those who vote to join the union – about half of the district’s 7,260 eligible teachers and other employees – that’s perfectly understandable. They join a group that is authorized to bargain on their behalf and it gets their personal information primarily so it can contact them outside school. Fine.
But what about the other half, those who choose to not join the union? I understand that they still benefit from the union’s bargaining, but does that give APS the right to waive their legal right to privacy without their consent? Read rest of commentary here: News New Mexico