By Paul J. Gessing
With tax reform taken off the agenda by New Mexico’s Democrat legislative leaders, it is clear that the 30-day session will be more about going through the motions and positioning for 2018 than about considering much-needed economic reforms. This is unfortunate because in spite of higher oil prices, New Mexico remains mired in an economic slump.
The unemployment rate remains elevated at 6.1 percent (2nd-highest in the nation) and as Bruce Krasnow reported recently in the New Mexican, “the state is in the midst of its slowest population growth since statehood — and that is not likely to change.”
By Roseannette Lopez
Our health care system is among the best in the world. It has kept my fifteen-year-old son alive (I’m not giving his name to protect his privacy). He has hemophilia, a disease he was born with. Hemophilia is a blood disease where the blood does not clot normally. To stay alive, you need medicine. Without it, you will die. Even with it, the disease causes chronic pain and internal bleeding, making normal life difficult. You must find the right medicine to lead even close to a normal life.
However, finding the right medicine to treat hemophiliacs is not always easy, as each case is different. And while the right medicine is available for my son, that medicine is not always easy for patients to get. The problem is something called Step Therapy. It’s where the insurance companies require you to try one, or several, medicines first before they will approve the one that works. It makes you take several “steps” before you get the medicine you want, and the medicine your doctor wants.
From Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation
(Albuquerque, NM) – When it comes to understanding and holding government accountable, the first requirement is transparency. The Rio Grande Foundation has been researching and analyzing government in New Mexico for a long time and has thus been among the State’s strongest supporters of transparency and open government.
It is awfully difficult to analyze government, let alone hold it accountable, without ready access to basic information like budgets and other statistics about the government entity in question.
This document looks at the Public Education Department (PED). As seen below from the screenshot taken of the “School Fact Sheet” page of PED’s website, basic information has not been updated for several years:
Sent by Terry Timme, Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society
When Aldo Leopold first came to the Southwest as a forest ranger in 1909, there were six mountainous areas in New Mexico and Arizona with more than half a million largely untracked acres at their core. A decade later all but one — the headwaters of the Gila River — had been fragmented by roads.
It was a moment of reckoning in our treatment of wild places, and Leopold seized the chance to advocate for preserving a last large remnant of our natural heritage in the Southwest. His vision helped keep the Gila headwaters primeval in perpetuity — the Gila Wilderness, the first such set aside in the world, remains off limits to roads, tourist developments and all things motorized and mechanized.
To the Editor:
Comments on the WNMU President’s Society
In the October Regent’s meeting the Regents set up 5 goals for fiscal year 2017-18 for President Shepard to a receive $50,000 bonus. Goal number 3 for President Shepard's bonus this fiscal year is: From FY 2018 non-state revenues increase Foundation's assets by $400,000 with a weighted value of at least $8,000.
Dear Silver Schools Community,
It deeply saddens me to watch our district face, what appears to be, unending attacks. Since my arrival in early January, there has been a constant barage of assaults against our district. Some deserved, most not. Prior to my arrival, my goal was, and continues to be, to make Silver Consolidated Schools as good as it was when I attended here in the 1970s. I could not have asked for a better education. Our children certainly deserve the same type of educational opportunity.
I’m not exactly sure how or when the district got to the point where it is, and to be honest, to me we should be past that by now. By continually concentrating on the past, we will miss opportunities of the future. I have tried to maintain my focus in moving our district forward without listening to all of the rumors and negative publicity in the community. But now, I believe it is time for me to speak on behalf of and defend the many and various accusations leveled against the district and its employees.
Why do so many people want to destroy what is good in our community?
Public input has become a weapon to dis-incentivize anyone from doing anything constructive or thinking about a new way to approach an issue or even working for a living. All these sometimes bring out the worst in people. Why?
No matter what a well-meaning person does, someone has to come in with a complaint about how much it costs, how much it might hurt the environment, how much it might inconvenience the speaker, how it doesn't fit the agenda of the speaker.
By Senator Jeff Steinborn
Last April, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed legislation that could have saved New Mexico millions of dollars a year in prescription drug costs for state agencies and its employees and retirees. Senate Bill 354, which passed the Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, would have required all New Mexico state agencies who purchase pharmaceutical drugs, to work together to aggressively seek a better deal on drug prices.
Citizens pay a huge cost for high drug prices. In fiscal year 2016 New Mexico state government spent over $670 million on prescription drugs, a staggering 54% increase in just two years. Senate Bill 354 would have leveraged the purchasing power of all of our state agencies who purchase prescription drug benefits including the Departments of Health, Human Services, Corrections, Medicaid, General Services Department, UNM, and other agencies, to aggressively pursue lower drug prices. Even though the legislation passed the Senate unanimously and the House with broad bi-partisan support, it was vetoed by Governor Martinez without explanation.
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