White House Estimates $1.47 Trillion in New Borrowing

New estimates from the White House on Friday predict the budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this year. The government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends. That's actually a little better than the administration predicted in February. The new estimates paint a grim unemployment picture as the economy experiences a relatively jobless recovery.
The unemployment rate, presently averaging 9.5 percent, would average 9 percent next year under the new estimates. The Office of Management and Budget report has ominous news for President Barack Obama should he seek re-election in 2012, a still-high unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. Read more here:


City & County Officials Talk Finances

Two major projects have sailed through the regulatory processes in place in recent years. They are the the new city building (first photo left) and the new county building (photo below right).
From the Las Cruces Sun-News - LAS CRUCES - The banquet room inside the Hilton Inn Garden was packed Thursday as members of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and interested residents gathered to hear status updates from Las Cruces and Dona Ana County leaders.

Mayor Ken Miyagishima gave what he called a "mini State of the City Address," and County Manager Brian Haines followed with his version of county government highlights for the 2010 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Read more here:


Domenici, others cleared in probe of Iglesias’ firing

From NMPolitics.net- by Heath Haussamen- Former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and others won’t face criminal charges related to the 2006 firing of then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. The department sent a letter to members of Congress who sought the probe stating that special prosecutor Nora Dannehy concluded that “evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed with regard to the removal of David Iglesias.” “There was insufficient evidence that former Senator Pete V. Domenici, other New Mexico Republicans, persons in the White House, or anyone at DOJ attempted to prospectively influence Iglesias’s actions,” the letter states. “The weight of the evidence established not an attempt to influence but rather an attempt to remove David Iglesias from office, in other words, to eliminate the possibility of any future action or inaction by him.” The letter, which concluded a two-year investigation, also stated that Domenici’s efforts to have Iglesias fired were “in part politically motivated.” Domenici, R-N.M., and others have claimed all along that they sought Iglesias’ removal from the position because he wasn’t doing a good job. Another New Mexico Republican involved was then-state GOP Chairman Allen Weh, who asked then-President Bush Senior Adviser Karl Rove to have Iglesias fired in late 2005. Read more

State Lawmakers in a Tough Spot

New Mexico is $160 million in the hole three weeks into the new fiscal year, state officials learned Wednesday. And that hole could double in size if Congress fails to send extra stimulus dollars New Mexico’s way to help pay for Medicaid, the government’s low-income health insurance program. It’s not exactly the kind of political climate gubernatorial candidates would prefer. Read more here:

Matt Chandler to Appear Friday on NewsNM

Republican Attorney General candidate Matt Chandler will appear on NewsNM on Friday July 23rd. Chandler opposes incumbent A.G. Gary King (D) in November. Chandler is currently the District Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District of New Mexico, representing the citizens of Curry and Roosevelt Counties. You can learn more about Chandler on his website by clicking here:

NPR profiles race between Teague and Pearce

NMPolitics.net reports that the 2nd Congressional District race between Democratic incumbent Harry Teague  (left) and Republican challenger Steve Pearce (our guest this morning on News NM) pits the current, Democrat-controlled Congress against the previous, GOP-controlled Congress. At least, that’s how NPR breaks things down in a new profile of the race. That’s because Pearce, who held the seat before Teague, is running on a platform of change from the way things currently are. Teague, meanwhile, is betting voters will continue the mood for change that helped elect him in 2008.  Read more here:


Obama Cracks Down on For-Profit Colleges

The Obama administration released a proposal that would tighten for-profit colleges’ access to federal student aid, threatening growth in the industry that received $26.5 billion in U.S. funds last year. The proposed rules released today by the U.S. Department of Education would link U.S. student aid eligibility at Apollo Group Inc., ITT Educational Services Inc., Career Education Corp. and other education companies to former students’ salaries and debt repayment rates. The rules may cut off access to federal student grants and loans at about 5 percent of all for- profit education programs, Secretary Arne Duncan said in a telephone call with reporters yesterday. Read more here:

Bonnie Accelerates as It Heads for Florida, Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm Bonnie (satellite photo left) accelerated on a course toward Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, where it’s already delaying efforts by BP Plc to permanently plug its wrecked Macondo well. Bonnie, packing sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) an hour, was moving west-northwest at 18 miles an hour, up from 16 mph three hours earlier, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory on its website shortly before 5 a.m. Miami time. The system, which earlier hit the northwestern Bahamas, was 155 miles southeast of Miami. Read more here:

Martinez Comments on State Budget Deficit

Albuquerque–Susana Martinez, Republican gubernatorial nominee (photo left) released the following statement in response to news reports of New Mexico’s massive and increasing budget deficit:

“For months now, Diane Denish has been telling New Mexicans she has a plan to get us out of this mess. What she isn’t telling voters is that she – along with Bill Richardson – got us into it to begin with. The Richardson/Denish Administration has failed New Mexico. Today, more people are looking for work and we are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the reckless and abusive actions of those in Santa Fe. If we are to solve the problems facing New Mexico, we will require someone who is not beholden to the establishment and who will challenge the status quo. I have an economic plan that will create jobs and restrain spending in state government, put an end to the corruption running rampant in the Roundhouse and eliminate the exempt positions created to pay back supporters of the Richardson/Denish Administration. We can solve this budget crisis by growing New Mexico’s economy through assisting our small businesses and reducing the out-of-control spending in state government.”
BACKGROUND: “Just when Governor Bill Richardson and his Cabinet Secretaries say there’s nothing left to cut, it looks like they need to cut more. KRQE News 13 has learned state lawmakers will hear Wednesday how the state is at least $300-million in the hole. That means the Governor and his replacement have some painful choices to make. People just aren’t spending what they used to. That’s the big reason why the state won’t be able to spend what lawmakers planned. Wednesday they’ll hear new official revenue estimates showing the state in another big financial hole. According to Legislative Finance Committee Chair Rep. Luciano ‘Lucky’ Varela (D) of Santa Fe the state is between $30 and $40 million dollars short for the fiscal year (2010) that just ended a few weeks ago. That can be made up with reserves. But it gets worse. Legislative Finance Committee Vice Chair Senator John Arthur Smith (D) of Deming expects estimates to show lawmakers over-budgeted by around $150 million for the fiscal year (2011) that just started July 1st.
That means Governor Richardson will have to cut across state government and it could mean more furloughs for state workers or even salary cuts and layoffs. The only thing off limits will be funding for Medicaid and the Developmentally Disabled. Next year may be even worse. Lawmakers and the next Governor will have to come up with a way to cut at least $150 million more from the budget (2012) that kicks in next July.”(Michael Herzenberg, “New $300 Million State Deficit,” KRQE-TV, 7/20/10)


Diane Denish Makes Campaign Visit to Santa Teresa

SANTA TERESA -- Diane Denish (left), the Democratic candidate for New Mexico governor, made a campaign stop Thursday at Santa Teresa Country Club to meet with supporters. Denish, 61, New Mexico's lieutenant governor, is running a close race against her Republican Party opponent, Susana Martinez, the Doña Ana County district attorney. Read more here:

Linda Chavez - Rush to Judgment

The Shirley Sherrod episode is a painful reminder that most of us are too quick to allow prejudices to trump judgment. Sherrod's saga began when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart decided to post a clip to his website from a speech Sherrod gave in March to an NAACP conference. In the clip, it appeared that Sherrod had refused to directly help a white farmer save his farm because she was only interested in helping blacks. Read more here:

Charles Rangel - Troubles Continue

The subject of an 18-month investigation, Representative Rangel – a 40-year member of Congress and the House’s fourth most-senior member – now faces a House trial in which eight members (four Democrats and four Republicans) will rule on the findings. Read more here: