No, It’s Your Money
By State Auditor Wayne Johnson
“We honestly believe this is our money.” Seven words spoken by Representative Jim Trujillo to the Albuquerque Journal eloquently – if unintentionally – illustrate a shocking lack of understanding of public money and the absolute necessity for an independent NM State Auditor.
Trujillo chairs the North Central NM Economic Development District (NCNMEDD) and was explaining why a recent audit showed thousands of public dollars used for expensive parties and employee bonuses when the state faced serious budget cuts.
By Sarah Austin, Carrot Express Transit Manager
Public transit is an essential offering in our communities, creating independence for those without other means of transportation. Students, those with disabilities, and those without a personal vehicle all benefit from having a public transit system.
In Grants and Milan, community members from all walks of life rely daily upon transit. Children of working parents—including my own children—utilize the system to attend after-school events, summer events, visit the public library, go swimming, and to attend any type of event that would otherwise be impossible to get to with their parents’ work schedules. Additionally, our riders use transit to go to the doctor, dialysis, shopping, library, food pantries, and to run errands, among other things.
September 1, 2018
This past week, with less than 75 days to go before the November election, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver used her office to change the way people can vote in New Mexico. It’s called “straight-ticket voting."
Basically, instead of voting for the person running, you are placing a vote for the party. So, if you vote “Republican Ticket,” every Republican in each of the races gets your vote. If you vote “Democrat Ticket,” each Democrat in every race receives your vote. And this goes on for each of the parties identified by the Secretary of State’s office.
When I decided to run for the New Mexico House of Representatives, I saw an opportunity to improve the quality of life for the residents in my district by reforming and improving our state’s laws. I also believed that I could elevate awareness throughout the state of the wonderful things people are doing to make southern New Mexico a great place to live, work, and play.
I ran because I felt called to serve my friends and neighbors. The people of my district value life, liberty, and the freedom to create better opportunities for themselves and their families. They believe that when times are tough, state government should live within its means and growing the size and influence of government isn’t the solution to any of our state’s problems.
Trade, particularly through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is vital for New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers. According to the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, 58% of New Mexico’s total agricultural exports in 2016 were delivered to our NAFTA partners. With New Mexico exporting $712.2 million worth of agricultural products, ranging from beef and dairy products, to our world famous chile and pecans, trade plays a pivotal role in New Mexico’s agricultural economy.
However, like many of you, I have seen both the positive and negative effects of trade on New Mexico. Being a border state, trade deals often required us to compete directly with Mexico. Although Mexico does not enjoy the freedoms we are privileged to have as Americans, a farmer cannot deny the advantage that Mexican producers have specifically when it comes to labor and environmental regulations. Being true innovators, we found ways to compete and market our products, but when countries began retaliating against U.S. tariffs, our profit margin became even more thin.
Not long ago, the United States was a world leader in infrastructure investments. Federal and private funding helped even the most remote communities obtain electricity, running water and access to the rest of the world through telecommunications.
There’s a well-known observation that close inspection of how legislation is made, is very much like watching sausage being created. In both cases it’s very unappetizing.
This process was on display recently with the machinations going on with the annual federal legislation for our military: the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). To understand the missed opportunity here, one needs to have a bit of background as to how we got to where we are today.
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