Susana signs last-second tax bill into law

From Capitol Report New Mexico - On Thursday (April 4) in Albuquerque, Gov. Susana Martinez signed the tax bill that zoomed through the state Senate and House of Representatives at the last minute of the just-completed legislative session. “We have to choose to compete to turn our state’s economy around,” Gov. Martinez said during the signing ceremony for the omnibus bill, which was a product of old-fashioned political horse trading in which both Republicans and Democrats each received some prized pieces of legislation.
     For Democrats, they got 1) the so-called “Breaking Bad” bill that boosts the state’s rebate for television producers increases from 25 percent to 30 percent if they shoot at least six episodes in New Mexico and 2) what’s called “combined reporting” of taxes for “big box” retail companies — but only unless they have non-retail operations in the state employing at least 750 people.
     Republicans and the Martinez administration were able to get a lowering of the top corporate income tax rate to 5.9 percent (it’s now at 7.6 percent) that will be phased in over five years and a gradual elimination of the $140 million in “hold harmless” revenue given to local communities — something that has been reported to cost the state millions.
     “It’s not a perfect package,” Martinez said, “but Republicans and Democrats came together to pass a game-changing jobs policy.” Read more

Features of society to which we can attach no benefit

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. A man brought a computer to the repair counter of a technology store. He said loudly to the technician, “Every time I hit the save button the computer immediately shuts down and I lose my document.” The computer technician looked puzzled for a moment and then said matter-of-factly, “Well, that certainly is a feature of the computer to which we can attach no benefit.”
     I laughed out loud but was the only one, in fact, both gave me a dirty look. But I do not care what you say, that is funny. Often we face the same kinds of problems and we wonder why a labor-saving device takes more energy than doing the task originally.
     It got me thinking about other problems in our country where we want to slap our heads in frustration. At times it seems we taxpayers are paying money to have a problem which of course is not good. There seems to be much of what the government does that we can attach no benefit. Example: when red light cameras came to communities at times there were more accidents rather than less. The idea in the ideal of red-light cameras was to make the intersections more safe rather than less.
     I have a theory about why the red-light cameras can make it more dangerous: drivers are aware of the red-light cameras and their ticketing of citizens. It makes them nervous watching the lights. While they are looking at the lights they are not looking at the traffic in the intersection. Looking at the red-light cameras is a distraction from the traffic in the intersection. When they do this, often they run into the back of other cars, an effect of red light cameras to which we can attach no benefit.
     The minimum wage was said to be for the least wealthy of our citizens. Those least wealthy also are often the least able to be productive because they have little or no job experience. So the government moves the minimum wage up and these people who were supposed to be helped were left out of the job market because they do not have job skills equal to the wages that employers must pay. So after all is said and done the people the minimum wage was supposed to help are unemployable, a result of the minimum wage to which we can attach no benefit. Read more

New sex offender law closes major loophole

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation that will require convicted sex offenders who move to New Mexico to register with authorities for the crimes they committed in other states. 
The governor said Wednesday the new law closes a loophole that had allowed some out-of-state sex offenders to avoid registration in New Mexico. The measure also will require offenders to supply authorities with more information, including their email addresses and monikers used on social networking site. 
The new law takes effect in July. 
Currently offenders must register with law enforcement if they've been convicted of certain sex crimes in New Mexico or the equivalents of those crimes in other states. 
However, a state Supreme Court ruling last year highlighted problems in determining whether out-of-state crimes fall under New Mexico registration requirements.


Bingaman takes fellowship at Stanford

Jeff Bingaman
Jeff Bingaman, the former head of the U.S. Senate energy committee, is headed to back to Stanford Law School
The New Mexico Democrat and Stanford alumnus will be joining the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance as a distinguished fellow. The fellowship will last a year.
 The law school says Bingaman will be reviewing the status of renewable energy standards in dozens of states to determine what policies can be adopted to improve the programs. 
Bingaman says part of the mission is to find cost-effective solutions for advancing clean energy.


NMSU regents approve 3% tuition increase

The New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved a 3 percent increase in tuition and fees starting with the Fall, 2013 semester.  

The increase means a full-time New Mexico resident undergraduate will pay $6222/year, while a full-time non-resident will pay $19,640.  Meal plan rates will rise 3.4%, which reflects an increase in costs, according to the University.  There will be no increase in housing costs.  

The increases received support from all members of the Board of Regents, with the exception of newly-appointed student Regent Jordan Banegas.

  NMSU remains among the lowest-priced schools among its peer institutions.


Gov. signs corporate tax bill

Gov. Martinez

Gov. Susana Martinez plans to sign a measure into law to lower taxes on corporations as an economic development incentive.
The governor's office said Martinez will sign the legislation today.
Key provisions will reduce the state's corporate income tax rate from 7.6 percent to 5.9 percent over five years, and provide a tax break to manufacturers that sell most of their goods and services outside of New Mexico
Supporters say the tax changes can help New Mexico in recruiting businesses or encouraging them to expand, potentially bringing more jobs to the state.
New Mexico's top corporate income rate is the highest among neighboring states. 
Friday is the deadline for the governor to sign or veto measures passed by the Legislature during its recently completed 60-day session.