Investment council elects Peter Frank vice chair

Peter Frank
Milan Simonich - Members of the State Investment Council today elected Peter Frank as their vice chairman, again rejecting Gov. Susana Martinez’s favored candidate. Frank defeated former Republican state legislator Leonard Lee Rawson of Las Cruces in a 5-4 vote. Two council members appointed by Republican Martinez voted for Frank, tipping the election his way. They were Scott Smart of Portales and Linda Eitzen of Albuquerque. Martinez, who chairs the investment council, first proposed last month that Rawson be elected vice chairman. Council members rejected Rawson then, also on a 5-4 vote. This time, the council’s governance committee suggested that anybody interested in being vice chairman place his or her name in nomination. Frank and Rawson were the only contenders for the job. Frank, 69, of Santa Fe was educated in the Ivy League. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He retired from Daymon Worldwide Inc. as chief financial officer and an executive vice president. He previously worked for 35 years for PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was on the firm’s global leadership team. Read More News New Mexico


Taken Out of Context? Let's Put It Back!

Jim Spence (left)
Commentary by Jim Spence - President Obama is trying to set the record straight. He wasn’t talking about building businesses when he said, “You didn’t build that.” He was talking about the building of bridges and roads. Fair enough. Who pays for the building of bridges and roads?
The top 25% of all taxpayers, which includes many successful businesspeople, pay 87% of all federal income taxes. Their businesses also pay billions of dollars each year in fuel excise taxes that are most often used to build roads and bridges. The more successful the business person is, the greater their share of the federal tax take is. The top 1% of earners actually pay more than 42% of the entire income tax paid by the top 25%. It is all part of a progressive tax code wherein about half of all American households pay zero income tax.
We took the time to speak to a business person in southern New Mexico about the costs of bridges and roads. He said when he first got into business he borrowed money and built a modest-sized building that was not in a very good location. Though his building was relatively inexpensive, he still paid substantially higher property taxes than he did on his home. As his business began to thrive he looked at a better location. He said, “All of the property located closer to busier roads with access bridges was a lot more expensive. But, we wanted a better location.” He borrowed heavily and paid the price for better road access. His property taxes went up five fold.
The reality is all business owners face substantially higher costs for property if they want to locate their businesses near better roads. Business people pay for the privileges that come with better locations near busy four lane roads.
Let’s return to the president’s statement and put it back into the context he would prefer. Obama would have all of us believe that it is government that builds roads and bridges. He goes farther. Somehow we are supposed to believe that business owners don’t really have a hand in the costs associated with building roads and bridges. His thought processes are preposterous. The truth is business owners pay a disproportionate share of the costs of government including roads and bridges. It is called a progressive tax system. The president is playing intellectually bankrupt shell games for the fool's vote. Clearly his objective is to try to diminish all voter awareness of the facts regarding where most of the money comes from that pays for roads, bridges, and all the other good things he claims government does. Even within the context he prefers, the actions and words of this president are reprehensible.


WSMR, Holloman: Union workers threaten strike

Las Cruces Sun-NewsEmployees from one of White Sands Missile Range's largest contractors threatened Monday to strike after union negotiations hit a rocky spot. A portion of the 325 employees who belong to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge No. 2515 also work at Holloman Air Force Base, outside Alamogordo. The union claimed its employer, TRAX International LLC, didn't follow through on verbal agreements about wages and cut back on health insurance benefits, according to an email from the union's business representative, Charles Jaramillo. He said negotiations reached a "critical juncture." The union and TRAX International "failed in their attempts to come to an agreement," he said. "This failed agreement has resulted in the union membership voting overwhelmingly to initiate a strike against the company," if negotiations don't improve. The Las Vegas, Nev.-based company provides a variety of operations-related services to WSMR, including in missile launch support, technical services, engineering services and laser research, according to its website. The missile range is in contact with TRAX International LLC and is keeping tabs on the negotiations, WSMR spokeswoman Monte Marlin said. The facility is "confident both parties will work to resolve the differences as soon as possible," she said. Read More News New Mexico


Feinstein: Intelligence Leaks Coming from White House

Newsmax - The Democratic leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Monday that the White House appears to be responsible for some leaks of classified information. "I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks," Sen. Dianne Feinstein told a World Affairs Council forum.
The California lawmaker said she was certain that President Barack Obama, who receives a daily intelligence briefing, isn't disclosing secret information, but she was uncertain about others at the White House. "I don't believe for a moment that he goes out and talks about it," she said.
Republicans have criticized the disclosures, arguing that members of the Obama administration were intentionally leaking classified material to enhance the president's reputation in an election year. Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two attorneys to lead the investigation into who leaked information about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and about an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound airliner.
That hasn't satisfied some Republicans who have pressed for a special prosecutor. Read full story here: News New Mexico


Obama's War on Coal Producing the Desired Effect: Layoffs in Abundant Coal Areas of Nation

Daily Caller - Pointing their fingers in part at regulations the Obama administration has imposed on their industry, two coal companies announced layoffs Friday.
Pennsylvania’s PBS Coals Inc. and the affiliated RoxCoal Inc. announced that they would idle some of their deep and surface mines, laying off 225 employees in the process.
“Both the foreign and domestic coal markets remain soft due to weak economic growth and activity,” PBS Coals president and CEO D. Lynn Shanks explained in a statement. “Additionally, the escalating costs and uncertainty generated by recently advanced EPA regulations and interpretations have created a challenging business climate for the entire coal industry.”
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which first reported the layoff, the company employs 795 workers. In Alledonia, Ohio, Murray Energy Corp. announced Friday it would lay off 29 union coal mining jobs at The Ohio Valley Coal Co.’s Powhatan No. 6 Mine. Read full story here: News New Mexico

State earns $3.9M at July oil and gas lease sale

New Mexico Business WeeklyThe New Mexico State Land Office announced Monday that it garnered $3.9 million in July from its monthly oil and natural gas lease sale in Santa Fe. The state auctioned 25 tracts of land totaling nearly 8,000 acres to the highest bidders at an average price per acre of $502. The highest sealed bid was sold for $800,000 to Energen Resources Corporation of Farmington. The highest oral bid was $465,000, made by Crown Oil Partners IV LP of Midland, Texas. The Land Office said that the monthly lease sales generate revenue from oil and natural gas produced on state trust land for trust beneficiaries, which saves taxpayers money. Ray Powell, state land commissioner, said in a prepared statement, "New Mexico has been blessed with enormous mineral reserves. The appropriate use of these natural resources has helped support our public schools, universities, and hospitals. We can thank our hard-working public employees at the State Land Office for the ongoing success of our oil and gas lease sales that help keep our taxpayers bills lower." Read More News New Mexico


Mayor Bloomberg Says Cops Should Go On Strike Until Americans Give Up Their Guns

Michael Bloomberg
ReasonNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN's Piers Morgan last night that he doesn't "understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike, we’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe." We've been hearing a lot of that recently. Earlier this year, The New York Timesreprinted a Department of Justice press release and slapped this lede on top of it: “As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: Rising numbers of police officers are being killed.” Read More News New Mexico


Judge issues removal of classified employee names from state website

Susana Martinez
Santa Fe New MexicanJudge Valerie Huling of the 2nd Judicial District has directed Gov. Susana Martinez to remove the names of classified employees from the state’s Sunshine Portal after a state employees’ union accused the governor of not following state law when she ordered them posted last winter. Members of the union in June filed a court petition asking that the classified employees’ names be taken off the public information website. They say a state law that outlines what information shall be on the portal doesn’t allow the names of the classified employees to be listed. When it first came online, the website contained the names, titles and salaries of the state’s exempt employees. It also had the titles and salaries of classified employees, but not their names. Martinez late last year ordered that information posted, saying it would increase government transparency. Administration officials have said the state has a legal right to publish information on the site that’s already available to the public in hard copy. Read More News New Mexico


Santa Fe to Get $2 Million From Washington D.C.

KOB - The city of Santa Fe will get nearly $2 million in federal money to replace older buses with ones that are more energy efficient.

The city will use the $1.92 million award to replace buses in its fleet that have met or exceeded their useful lives with CNG (compressed natural gas) buses that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a release from the city of Santa Fe, the project was selected on a competitive basis through the federal State of Good Repair Program. Read full story here: News New Mexico

New Mexico awarded grant to help students pay for Advanced Placement exams

Jeff Bingaman
U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today announced that the New Mexico Education Department will receive a $102,081 federal grant to help students defray the cost of Advanced Placement exams.  Bingaman is the author of the law that created this grant program within the U.S. Department of Education.The Department of Education’s AP Test Fee Program awards grants enables students to pay all or a portion of advanced placement test fees on behalf of eligible low-income students.   The program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who take advanced placement tests and receive scores for which college academic credit is awarded. “AP courses offer students an opportunity to raise the quality of their education while earning college credits. This grant will help students cover the cost of AP exams, giving them a head start on their college degrees,” Bingaman said. 


Obama Fundraiser Recycles Solyndra Players

Washington Times - President Obama rubbed elbows Monday night with two men at the center of the Solyndra loan scandal at an exclusive fundraiser in California. Steve Westly, a financier whose money-raising prowess helped to snag him a post on the administration’s energy advisory board, and Matt Rogers, a former Energy Department senior adviser who helped to approve the Solyndra loan, were spotted by reporters at the $35,800-per-person fundraiser for the president’s re-election campaign.
Mr. Westly sent warnings to the president not to attend an event at Solyndra's headquarters in the Bay area because of shaky finances at the solar energy company, which had received a fast-tracked $535 million federal loan guarantee in 2010 as part of the administration’s economic stimulus program. Mr. Rogers was partly responsible for overseeing stimulus awards at the Energy Department.
They were among about 60 wealthy donors who attended the fundraiser at the swanky home of progressive activist Quinn Delaney and real estate developer Wayne Jordan, a big Obama bundler, in Piedmont, Calif., near Oakland. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Carlsbad Caverns Closes Temporarily

KRQE - Carlsbad Caverns National Park visitor center and cave closed at 2:00 pm Monday due to what appears to be contamination in the air from construction work in the elevator shaft. Visitors can call the park’s information line at 575-785-2232 to receive a message on the status of the closure. “The park is doing everything possible find the source of the contamination and remedy the situation,” stated Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent John Benjamin. “We need to err on the side of safety and will open the visitor center and cave as soon as we possibly can.” Read full story here: News New Mexico

Martinez Unveils New System To Expedite Construction Permitting Process

Governor Susana Martinez today unveiled a state-of-the-art electronic plan review system that will expedite the approval of construction, design, and architectural plans by the state’s Construction Industries Division. Currently, all plans are required to be sent by mail or hand delivered for manual reviews and approvals at CID offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. The new system will allow businesses to submit their proposals online for a faster review process that will save both time and money. “Every day delayed at a construction site translates to lost wages for workers, lost revenues for local communities and potentially increased costs for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers,” said Governor Martinez. “Instead of requiring businesses to wait out a manual review process, this new system will allow them to instantly submit their proposals for consideration by the state’s permitting agency. It will save time and money for homeowners, builders, developers and contractors by speeding up the permitting and approval process by simply pushing the send button on a computer.”  “We want to send a loud and clear message to the construction industry in our state and across the country – we’re open for business and we aim to help them grow and prosper. Rather than standing in the way of success and economic growth, we should be doing everything we can to promote it,” Governor Martinez continued.