Gov Signs State Budget, Vetoes $2M

The Roundhouse 
Albuquerque Journal Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a state budget that increases spending by 4 percent next year and provides a boost in take-home pay for educators and state workers. The governor cut almost $2 million from the budget with line-item vetoes, including $75,000 to promote “adventure tourism” in McKinley County and $50,000 for “salary adjustments” for Northern New Mexico College faculty. The budget allocates $5.6 billion for public education, colleges and government programs in the fiscal year starting July 1. That represents a $219 million increase over this year. The governor signed the bill on Friday. The budget provides nearly $50 million for higher government payments into public employee pensions next year, allowing worker contributions to drop by a similar amount, which boosts the take-home pay of workers. (Subscription required) Read More News New Mexico


Governor Prepares to Veto Pork Proposals

KOB TV- Governor Susana Martinez is sharpening up her pork knife, threatening to use her line-item veto powers to slash some state lawmakers' pet projects in the capital outlay bill - the stuff politicians call pork. The Republican Governor says she is studying the bill, looking for "wasteful" projects, whether they are backed by Democrats or Republicans in the legislature.
"Some things the cities could do for themselves," said Martinez. "Maybe they could repair cabinets in a senior center, versus a big road project or a big dam repair, something that we're responsible for."
Exhibit A, $80,000 for musical instruments and bathrooms for a mariachi music program for at-risk kids in Roswell.
Exhibit B might be $25,000 for improvements to the rose garden at Albuquerque's Tony Hillerman Library.
Read full story here: News New Mexico

New law clarifies NM uranium enrichment tax break

Susana Martinez
Alamogordo Daily NewsGov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation to clarify a tax break New Mexico provides for a uranium enrichment plant in southeastern New Mexico. The change in law will ensure that the plant's utility customers won't be taxed if they sell a uranium compound before it is enriched. Utilities send uranium hexafluoride to the plant near Eunice for enrichment as part of a process for producing nuclear power plant fuel. Supporters say the original tax break was worded incorrectly. The new law makes clear the gross receipts tax doesn't apply to sales of uranium hexafluoride as well as the service of enriching uranium. The governor signed the legislation on Thursday. Martinez has until next Wednesday to sign or veto measures passed by the Legislature. Read More News New Mexico


Debt Limit Commentary

The Quote of the Decade:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

Heavy Hand of EPA Continues Obama Assault on Coal, Electric Bills Likely to Rise

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver denied requests by PNM and others to put on hold a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency visibility requirement on the company’s primary power source, the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington, N.M.
The court will now consider the merits of appeals of the requirement by PNM, the N.M. Environment Department and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. Those parties maintain EPA’s mandate would cost New Mexico electric ratepayers and others about $750 million or more while a New Mexico plan could meet the same federal visibility rules for $77 million, or about one-tenth of the cost.
Today’s ruling is a decision by the court not to put implementation of EPA’s plan on hold while the issue is considered by the court.
“We remain committed to resolving this issue and, ultimately, to installing the most cost-effective, new visibility controls on the San Juan power plant,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president and CEO of PNM parent company PNM Resources. “In the meantime, we have a strong case to make that EPA violated the Clean Air Act and its own regulations in determining the best available retrofit technology for the plant.”
Vincent-Collawn added: “Today’s decision does increase our focus on convincing EPA administrators to quickly approve the New Mexico plan and, prior to taking that action, put the EPA requirement on hold. These actions are consistent with the Clean Air Act and EPA’s regulations and will serve interests of New Mexico’s economy and its electric consumers. The EPA has full, discretionary authority to grant that stay today.”
EPA’s aggressive, five-year compliance deadline for the San Juan plant to install the agency’s chosen technology, selective catalytic reduction (SCR), requires PNM to begin preparing to install that technology now even though the court ultimately could find it unnecessary.
New Mexico has approved a plan to meet the federal visibility rules by installing a different technology, selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR), on all units at the San Juan plant. PNM supports that plan, which would reduce San Juan's emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 20 percent annually. Combined with reductions resulting from a major environmental upgrade completed in 2009, this would represent an annual NOx reduction of 73 percent from 2006 levels.