Statistics Indicate New Mexico Tourism On Rise

Susana Martinez
Santa Fe - Governor Susana Martinez joined New Mexico tourism officials today to discuss statistics that point to a nearly five percent increase in the number of visitors to the state last year. Travelers that visited New Mexico in 2011 generated $5.5 billion in spending by tourists and brought in $1.2 billion in revenues for the state. According to an annual survey by Longwoods Travel USA, New Mexico had 31.2 million travelers in 2011, a 4.7 percent increase from 29.8 million in 2010. “Tourism has an enormous impact on all of New Mexico’s communities, both large and small,” said Governor Martinez. “We’re committed to getting the message out to visitors from around the world about all of the beautiful scenery, historic landmarks, incredible adventures, and unique attractions that New Mexico has to offer.” The increase in tourism has led to growth in the leisure and hospitality industries, with employment up 2.7 percent, or about 2,000 jobs, as of May 2012. With 86,500 jobs in those industries, 1 in 12 New Mexico jobs are now directly related to tourism. The state also saw a 12.4 percent increase in visitors making New Mexico their primary destination. Increasing these numbers is a primary focus of the Tourism Department as these visitors stay longer and spend more money in the state. Additionally, expenditures per trip were also up 9.3 percent, according to the Longwoods survey. “This is great news but we need everyone’s help to continue building on this momentum,” said Tourism Department Secretary Monique Jacobson. “I hope that all New Mexicans will encourage their friends and family to come and experience our authentic true adventures and take the tame to travel the state themselves to learn something new about the place we call home.” Longwoods has been a leader in tourism research since 1985, when they conducted the largest-ever study of American travel behavior. Longwoods Travel USA is the largest ongoing study of the nation’s business and leisure travel. 


Petition to Increase Minimum Wage Circulates in Duke City, Youth Unemployment Rate Too Low?

KOAT - ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Petitions are circulating to raise Albuquerque's $7.50 per hour minimum wage by a dollar. Albuquerque resident Joseph Baltzer lives on the minimum wage.
"I just try not to spend as much. I'm frugal and cut down on the luxuries," Baltzer said. "I've got a couple other side jobs that supplement my income."
Supporters of a higher minimum wage in Albuquerque are trying to get the issue of the November ballot. The proposal would push the minimum wage to $8.50 by next year with cost of living raises in the following years. But not all are in favor of the proposal. Jeff Parker with ManPower Inc., a business that finds jobs for the unemployed, said the increase would be bad business and put more constraints on local employers. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Retail Sales Accelerate Decline to 0.5% in June

(Bloomberg) -- Retail sales fell 0.5 percent in June, following a 0.2 percent decrease the previous month. The 0.5 percent drop followed a 0.2 percent decrease in May, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The decline exceeded the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey that called for a median 0.2 percent gain in sales. The retail figures prompted economists at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse to lower their forecasts for economic growth in the second quarter. A cooling job market is sapping the household spending that makes up 70 percent of the economy, curbing sales at retailers such as Target Corp. (TGT) and Macy’s Inc. (M)
“Weak spending growth and weak employment are reinforcing one another in a disconcerting negative feedback loop,” said Jay Feldman, a director of U.S. economics at Credit Suisse in New York, who cut his tracking estimate for second-quarter economic growth to 1.6 percent from 2 percent. Read full story here: News New Mexico

U.S. Entrepreneur's Outraged by Obama's Comments

Daily Mail - America's leading small business association has slammed Barack Obama for showing "an utter lack of understanding" of the country's entrepreneurs when he told them: 'If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'
In a hard-hitting statement to Mail Online, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) said: "What a disappointment to hear President Obama's revealing comments challenging the significance of America's entrepreneurs. His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs."
President Barack Obama said in a speech at the weekend that governments and not individuals create jobs, telling entrepreneurs: "If you've got a business - you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
He added: "You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart."
The inflammatory campaign speech comments underline the extent to which Obama believes that the state rather than ordinary citizens create jobs and wealth. They highlight a key contrast with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, who is preaching a message of wealth creation by individuals and reinvigorating the private sector.
And the spokesman for the NFIB added: "I'm sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama's claim." Read full story here: News New Mexico

The Great Distraction: Fact checks Support Romney on Bain Capital Attacks From Obama

Mitt Romney
Amidst Democratic Party leaning fact-checking organizations findings that President Obama is running untruthful advertisements about Mitt Romney, on Monday Romeny accused President Barack Obama of running a “campaign based on falsehood and dishonesty.”
“A campaign based on falsehood and dishonesty does not have long legs,” Romney said on “Fox and Friends,” this morning.
Romeny also said, “The president only has one thing going, and that is constant attacks on me. They’re dishonest. They’re misdirected. And I think the American people recognize that kind of politics as something of the past. It may work in Chicago, but it’s not going to work across America.”
Romney scoffed at President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege over documents related to the disastrous “gun-walking” operation that took place under right hand man Eric Holder's watch at the Department of Justice. He did so in response for calls for transparency by the White House.

Stephen Covey Dies at Age 80

Stephen Covey
Salt Lake Tribune - Stephen R. Covey, a former Brigham Young University business management professor who catapulted to fame and fortune with the publication in 1989 of his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," has died.
Covey died early Monday morning at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls from the residual effects of a bicycle accident in April, his family said. He was 80 years old. Covey, who after his early success went on to write a string of books playing off the "7 Habits" themes that reportedly sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages, became a management guru for companies and government agencies. He was named to Time magazine’s top 25 most influential Americans of 1996 and "The 7 Habits" made several lists as one of the most influential business books ever.
In 2011, Covey was ranked 47th in the Thinkers50 list of world’s Top 50 business thinkers. Covey was born in 1932 in Salt Lake City. He was raised on an egg farm and in his teenage years suffered from a degradation of his thighbones, according to 1994 Fortune magazine profile, a condition that led to three years on crutches with steel pins in his legs. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Forest Service might see record spending due to NM wildfires

New Mexico Business WeeklyThe U.S. Forest Service is on track for a record year of spending, largely due to wildfires in southern New Mexico. The Associated Press reports that the Forest Service has already spent $25 million this year in efforts to deal with the aftermath of wildfires, including building water bars, removing hazardous trees and spreading seed in New Mexico alone. So far in New Mexico, $14 million has been spent in Burned Area Emergency Recovery due to lightning-sparked fire in the Gila National Forest, and $9 million has been spent on the Little Bear Fire near Ruidoso. Colorado's fire season is the worst the state has seen in a decade, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting spending to increase significantly once its major fires are under control. Read More News New Mexico


Chile Production Down in NM

KRWG - Experts suspect that green and red chile acreage in New Mexico may have shrunk again this year in the Hatch and Mesilla Valley regions. Farmers in Dona Ana County are thinking twice about committing to growing because they are having a rocky time competing with prices from foreign producers, who face fewer regulations and have a large supply of cheap labor.
Additionally, a scarcity of Rio Grande irrigation water this year and last year in the county boosted farmers' expenses, as they have to pay fuel costs to pump water from underground. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Quote of the Month: Barack Obama

The Washington Times reported President Obama speaking late last week in what can only be described as the quote of the Month. Speaking to a crowd in Virginia Obama continued to diminish and minimize the contributions of business people:
"Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."
You can read the story and watch the full video here: News New Mexico

Arab Spring or Civility Fall? Egyptians Throw Tomatoes and Chant "Monica Monica" at Hillary Clinton Motorcade

CAIRO (Reuters) - Protesters threw tomatoes and shoes at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's motorcade on Sunday during her first visit to Egypt since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
A tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Clinton's delegation in the port city of Alexandria.
Hillary Clinton
A senior state department official said that neither Clinton nor her vehicle, which were around the corner from the incident, were struck by any of the projectiles.
Protesters chanted: "Monica, Monica", a reference to Former President Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair. Some chanted: "leave, Clinton", Egyptian security officials said.
It was not clear who the protesters were or what political affiliations they had. Protesters outside Clinton's hotel on Saturday night chanted anti-Islamist slogans, accusing the United States of backing the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power.
The assault on her motorcade came on a day Clinton spoke at the newly re-opened U.S. consulate in Alexandria, addressing accusations the United States, which had long supported former President Hosni Mubarak, of backing one faction or another in Egypt following his ouster last year.
"I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt, of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which of course we cannot," Clinton said.

Federal Government Gives $68,000 per home to Homeowners for Repairs

KOAT - They're old, broken down homes that should be deemed unsafe to live in, but thanks to federal money, 50 Bernalillo County houses have a new lease on life. The federal program helps rebuild rundown homes, and for the past two years Bernalillo County's Housing Department has helped renovate 50 houses. The grant money gives each home about $68,000 in construction money.
It's money that at least one homeowner said is a godsend. "Oh, I'm very happy when I got the letter that I qualified," said homeowner Dulcy Padilla.
To qualify, a person must own their home. Their property taxes must be current. And they have to provide a utility bill to show they live in the home.
"It's also income-based," said Irene Serna from the Bernalillo County Housing Department. "For example, for a family of two, they're income level can't be over $21,000." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Coyote Attacks in Santa Fe Raise Eyebrows

KOAT - A warning was issued to residents Sunday after recent coyote attacks. In the past month, coyotes have attacked two dogs at the Santa Fe ski basin. The fear now is that a hiker or even a child could be next. Coyotes are out year-round, but during the summer, attacks are more of a concern because residents, pets and children spend a lot more time outside.
Game and Fish officials want to educate everyone on how to avoid attacks. "Coyotes are canine. They will defend their territory. They don't see humans as prey or as a food source," New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Wildlife Division Chief Cal Baca said.
Coyotes will usually eat mice, rabbit and squirrels, but Game and Fish officials warned they will go after cats and dogs. While they usually aren't a danger to humans, they can be if they are sick.
"They may be infected with rabies or some other disease that could trigger a difference in how they act," said Baca.
Game and Fish officials said if someone encounters a coyote, there are tips to avoid an attack. "Make yourself look big (and) be very loud. If you see a coyote that tries to come into contact with you, yell at it (and) throw things at it," said Baca. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Gardner to Testify in Personnel Board Hearing

Keith Gardner
KOB - An administrative law judge has ruled that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's chief of staff must testify next week at a State Personnel Board hearing for a former Department of Corrections employee who was fired.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Martinez's office objected to the subpoena of Keith Gardner, the governor's chief of staff, in an employment appeal by former corrections employee Larry Flynn.
Flynn was investigated last fall for allegedly firing a handgun at a rattlesnake nest outside the residence he shared with then-Corrections Secretary Lupe Martinez. He was already on paid leave while he was being investigated for alleged time card falsification. Read full story here: News New Mexico