RAHN: Liberal leaders flunk math

From the Washington Times - by Richard Rahn - Dennis Van Roekel, president of the largest teachers union, the National Education Association, failed fifth-grade math last week. The question he failed is: If X (government spending) is growing faster than A (government tax revenue) plus B (new revenue from higher tax rates on “the rich”), when will A plus B equal X?
President Obama met with leaders of left-leaning organizations, including Mr. Van Roekel, to discuss the “fiscal cliff.” After the meeting, Mr. Van Roekel appeared on Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show to discuss the budget deficit. Mr. Van Roekel told Mr. Cavuto that he had recommended taxing the top 2 percent more to deal with the problem. Mr. Cavuto then correctly explained that taxing the top 2 percent could not solve the problem because even with the increase, spending would still be growing far faster than revenues — primarily because of entitlement programs. After some back and forth, Mr. Van Roekel could not identify one item in the budget that he was in favor of cutting and kept insisting the problem could be solved only by taxing the top 2 percent, even though Mr. Cavuto again correctly and clearly explained that even taxing the top 2 percent at a 100 percent rate would not produce enough revenue because entitlements are growing faster than the economy. Mr. Van Roekel appeared to be unable to grasp this rather simple concept.
When you first study physics and economics, you learn the difference between constants and variables. You also learn there are very few constants — the speed of light being one. Most everything is a variable, in that most everything is affected by other things or actions. A majority of the leaders and voters in California seem to have missed this basic lesson. They voted for a whole host of new taxes, including increasing the state’s income tax to more than 13 percent. For most of these tax increases, the political leaders made the assumption that people will stay put and pay these taxes — hence, big revenue gains. But how likely is this? Gov. Jerry Brown has, in effect, said that state personal income is a constant rather than a variable. If you multiply a higher tax rate by a constant income you get a bigger number and — voila — more tax revenue. However, state personal income is variable, which Mr. Brown will learn in a painful way. People can move either their personal or economic activity to another state, another country or even cease working in the above-ground economy. California will continue to lose economic market share and its budget problems will only get worse. Read full column

Cash Cow Offered by Lame Ducks

Commentary by Marita Noon - One of the important agenda items for the lame duck session of the 112th Congress is the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. The PTC is set to expire December 31 and Congress estimates that extending it for one year will cost about $12 billion. I’ve written on it repeatedly.
Because of their fiscal conservative inclination, Republicans have repeatedly blocked the PTC extension.  Pre-election, Republicans held 47 Senate seats out of 100. Corralling all 47 Republicans and 4 Democrats and/or Independents to stand together in opposition to the extension was difficult—but not impossible. Post-November 6, there are now only 45 Republican members. Every out-of-party vote needed decreases the odds that the PTC will be allowed to expire—probably doubling the difficulty. The difference between 6 and 4 Senate Democrat votes doesn’t sound like a big difference to the casual observer, but it greatly shifts the odds in favor of the PTC extension in the Senate.
Additionally, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), on November 13, 23 governors signed a letter calling on Congress to extend the PTC. The letter has signatories such as Iowa’s Terry Branstad and Kansas’ Sam Brownback—both Republicans, and Oregon’s John Kitzhaber and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper—both Democrats.
Interestingly, the number of governors calling for the PTC extension closely parallels the number of states with a mandate for a specific percentage of renewable energy by a set date. The percentage mandated, frequently called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), varies state-to-state—with California’s being the most extreme.
Instead of calling on Congress to extend the PTC, governors should direct state lawmakers to repeal the RPS.  Instead of trying to repeal the RPS, well-funded environmental groups have been working to make renewable energy mandates part of a state’s constitution—where it can’t be repealed (or at least not easily). Michigan’s Proposition 3 is the case in point.
Marketed as the Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs Proposal, Prop 3 sought to amend the constitution to require Michigan utilities to derive at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Not surprisingly, groups like the Sierra Club supported Prop 3 with millions of dollars in advertising. They saw the Michigan case as a test, believing that a win in Michigan would tell the world that the public wants renewable energy.
Going forward, we don’t need a gift horse and we don’t need to give well-connected cronies any more steak off the cash cow. We don’t need energy that is inefficient, ineffective, and uneconomical. We do need energy that is abundant, available, and affordable. We do need an energy policy that is based on sound science and free-market principles that will unleash an economic recovery.
If we do not take action now, we have no chance of getting the American economic recovery we need. Read full column

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Webcast 11/19/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 5pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Milk shortage starts jail riot
Secession movement hits NM
Fort Sill Apache tribe continues fight for casino
NM to offer veteran drivers licenses

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Secession movement hits NM

The secession movement has swept into New Mexico, only days after President Barack Obama was elected to a second term. 

An online petition asking for a peaceful separation from the rest of the country has nearly 5,000 signatures.  But several people, including longtime history observers, say the petition is more of a stunt that anything else because the state economy couldn't survive without federal dollars. 
Virgina Scharff, a UNM history professor says  that all federal military bases and labs would be shuttered.  Medicaid and VA assistance, as well as using federal currency, would be a thing of the past too. 
Each state in the country has similar petitions circulating.  Texas has the most signatures at roughly 100,000 names.


NM to offer veteran drivers licenses

New Mexico is adding a feature on its driver's licenses to indicate that someone is a veteran. 

State officials say the designation will make it easier for veterans to provide proof they served in the military without needing to carry copies of their discharge papers. Veterans sometimes qualify for discounts at businesses. 
There's no extra cost to have the designation on a license. People with a currently valid license must pay an $18 replacement or renewal fee to get a new license, including one with the veteran's designation. 
To obtain the veteran's license, individuals need to provide the state with a form showing they were discharged from the military or they can provide a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical identification, military retiree card or National Guard identification.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 11/19/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Fort Sill Apache tribe continues fight for casino
First flu case in NM confirmed
New UNM president inaugurated 
ABQ man arrested for voting twice

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Ski season starts in NM

Ski season is officially under way in New Mexico.
 Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort opened slopes on Saturday, marking the 11th consecutive year it was the first of the state’s ski areas to open. Red River is scheduled to open Wednesday, followed by Taos Ski Valley on Thanksgiving Day. 
As of Friday, Ski Santa Fe and Ski Apache, near Ruidoso, were also shooting for Thanksgiving Day openings, but may need some help from Mother Nature. The state’s other ski areas don’t plan to open until mid-December. 
While many turn to sophisticated forecast models to gauge the weather, Sipapu General Manager John Paul Bradley said he also relies on the Farmers’ Almanac as a guide.


MIlk shortage causes jail riot

A message registered loud and clear for the officials who run the prison in Farmington; do not run out of milk
When the prison ran out of milk this weekend it caused chaos. Maximum security inmates were angered when milk ran short during breakfast at San Juan County Jail and began refusing to obey orders.  Some started yelling at jail guards. Officers were forced to shoot tear gas.  Local and state police also called to help jailers control the situation.  
Jail officials say all the inmates got their allotted 20 ounces of milk, but there was not enough Saturday for every inmate to get seconds.


Fort Sill Apache tribe continue fight for casino

One year after being granted reservation status in New Mexico, the Fort Sill Apache Friday raised their flag on their 30-acre plot of land in the Akela Flats of southern New Mexico
But tribal Chairman Jeff Haozous says it will likely take generations to re-establish a true presence on the tribe's homelands.
 Key to the plans is resolution of the tribe's long-standing battle to build a casino on the reservation, an area where the tribe has made little progress in the last year. Haozous says the casino is necessary for the tribe to be able to make money to expand the reservation and create the jobs necessary to lure tribal members back. 
But Gov. Susana Martinez still opposes the casino and has declined to meet with the tribe. 


First case of flu confirmed in NM

This season's first case of influenza has been confirmed by the New Mexico Department of Health. 

 Health officials made the announcement Friday, saying the first case to be reported involves a woman from Santa Fe County
Officials are urging New Mexicans to get vaccinated as soon as possible. State Epidemiologist Michael Landen says getting a flu shot is the best protection against the spread of the disease, especially for children and those at high risk. 
The Health Department says it doesn't track every case of flu in New Mexico. However, it does track influenza-like illness at several locations around the state to estimate the amount of flu activity.


UNM President inaugurated

Bob Frank
Although he's been on the job since last summer, Bob Frank was officially inaugurated Sunday as the University of New Mexico's 21st president.

 Frank is an UNM alumnus and previously served as provost at Kent State. A native of Las Cruces, he says that he is honored to lead the state's flagship university.
 Frank took time to honor his father during the ceremony, telling the crowd that his dad would be proud that he has returned to his alma mater. 
Frank started his five-year term as UNM president in June.


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 11/19/12

Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Newscast with Vanessa Dabovich

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Coyote hunting contest kills around 50
Las Cruces Council to hear strip club appeal
ABQ man arrested for voting twice

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Las Cruces City Council to hear strip club appeal

The Las Cruces City Council will serve as an appeals board during its regular meeting today to hear an appeal of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to deny a special use permit that would have allowed the establishment of an adult entertainment business in Las Cruces.

 The business, known as The Bronx, would be located at 2221 Westgate Court. 

The P&Z denied a special use permit at its September 25th meeting. According to the City’s zoning code, the City Council will be serving as an appellate body, therefore no public participation will be allowed.


Less than 50 coyotes killed in weekend contest

More than 100 hunters fanned out across New Mexico in search of coyotes this weekend.

Gunhawk Firearms didn't have an exact number on how many coyotes were killed, but say they believe it was less than 50. 
Practically everyone in New Mexico had something to say about this weekend’s coyote-killing contest, from animal activists to rangers who want to protect their livestock. 
Animal Protection of New Mexico Executive Director Lisa Jennings said her group is working to try and get a law passed against such an event. There is currently no law against holding such a hunting event. The only restrictions are that hunters can not shoot the coyotes on state or federal land. Several hunters and ranchers said the hunts are the only way to keep some livestock alive.
 At least three other similar events are being planned in New Mexico. Gunhawk owner Mark Chavez says the pelts collected during the contest will be sold for $50 each, and the money will go to a scholarship fund for an agriculture student.