House Redistricting Passes........House

Andy Nunez
UPDATE - Representative Andy Nunez will appear on the show Friday morning at 8:00am to give his perspective on the Special Session of the legislature including the bill that was passed by the House of Representatives with his vote.
Santa Fe New Mexican - Lawmakers in the state House of Representatives passed a plan to redraw boundaries and legislative districts after the legislation barreled through two legislative committees Wednesday. The bill was approved in a 36-34 vote. The sudden movement of House Bill 39 follows days of internal struggle among lawmakers to cobble together the 36 votes necessary to push the bill through the 70-member House. In the span of six hours, the plan passed the House Voters and Elections and Judiciary committees. Both votes were along party lines. The swift movement came after Independent Andrew Nuñez of Hatch appeared to change his mind about supporting the redistricting plan.
With 36 Democrats, 33 Republicans and one Independent (Nuñez), the House had been at a stalemate all week as Nuñez and Democratic Rep. Sandra Jeff opposed all plans to redraw state House district boundaries, creating a 35-to-35 tie. That meant neither side, Democrat nor Republican, had enough votes to push any particular plan.
But Nuñez's switch gave House Speaker Ben Luján the 36 votes needed to run the legislation through the committees on Wednesday, with a discussion on the House floor following Wednesday night. It was unclear why Nuñez changed his mind to support the redistricting plan or what he got in return for that switch. His support for the plan might have cleared a legislative logjam, but it didn't end the intrigue surrounding the legislation. Jeff remained opposed to the plan Wednesday, saying all the changes requested by the Navajo Nation had not been made. But Rep. Ray Begaye, D-Shiprock, also a Navajo lawmaker, said the changes requested didn't come from the Navajo Nation as a whole, as Jeff has said, but from a "certain select few. It's an internal Navajo struggle," said Begaye, who supports the bill. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Obama's Municipal Bond Proposal Abrogates Contracts

Sfgate - Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama's plan to cut the budget deficit repeats his call for curbing the tax exemption on municipal bonds and would give states a break on unemployment debts owed the federal government. The recommendation includes tax overhauls proposed last week that would limit exemptions for interest on state and local government bonds for those earning $200,000 or more. While that may push up municipal borrowing costs, Obama today proposed giving states that have run out of money for unemployment benefits two more years of interest-free loans. The ideas are part of a package Obama submitted to a Congressional panel seeking to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit in the next decade. By pressing for tax increases, mostly aimed at the wealthy, he places himself at odds with Republican leaders who want to focus on scaling back spending. Any push to reduce the tax-exemption on municipal-bond interest may also face resistance from local government officials coping with fiscal pressure from the recession and a loss of federal stimulus money. California Treasury Bill Lockyer last week said losing part of the tax break might cost California as much as $7.7 billion. Read full story here: News New Mexico

"A Buffett Buffet"


Let's get on with the re-districting court battle

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - Redistricting was destined to end up in court, so maybe the Legislature should adjourn sine die today and stop spending taxpayer money to try to complete this futile exercise. In these uber-partisan times, was there ever much doubt that most or all pieces of the redistricting task currently before the New Mexico Legislature would end up being decided in court? Those who hoped for compromise between Democrats and Republicans have seen their hopes dashed in the last couple of days as negotiations have failed (some would say they didn’t really exist to begin with) and Democratic bills have passed on largely party-line votes. Both sides are accusing the other of partisan gerrymandering.
Both say their plans protect redistricting values such as one person, one vote. “It was painfully obvious today that Susana Martinez and her cronies in the Republican caucus aren’t interested in protecting every New Mexican’s vote or respecting minority voting rights,” Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales said Wednesday. “They are playing partisan politics and creating as many safe Republican seats as possible. Our maps were drawn with sound constitutional principles and the best interests of New Mexico at heart,” Gonzales said.
On the other hand, House Minority Leader Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, said on the floor Wednesday evening that the Democrats’ bill for redistricting the House amounted to gerrymandering. His primary problem was that, of the areas that lost the most people in the last decade, only a Republican-majority area lost a House seat. Taylor complained that a legal battle would cost millions. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Bernanke Talks Markets Tumble, Still thinks Lower Rates Will Help

Ben Bernanke
Bloomberg - Federal Reserve policy makers indicated they are willing to do more to keep the economy from sliding into another recession as they made their second move in as many months to reduce borrowing costs. The central bank will extend the average maturities of the Treasuries in its portfolio by purchasing $400 billion of long- term debt while selling an equal amount of shorter-term securities, the Federal Open Market Committee said in Washington after ending a two-day meeting yesterday. “It’s a modest step,” said Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Capital and a former Fed economist. “This is a way to start down the path of further easing, but they would become more aggressive if they were convinced growth was not going to improve.” Treasury 30-year bonds surged in anticipation of central bank purchases of longer-term debt. Stocks fell, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down the most in a month, on the Fed’s assessment that market turmoil caused by Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is taking a toll on the U.S. economy. Read full story here: News New Mexico