Tipping Point NM episode 280: Rob Black and Ted Abernathy – Driving New Mexico’s Future

On this week’s conversation, Paul sits down with New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rob Black and economic consultant Ted Abernathy who runs the firm Economic Leadership.

Ted recently worked with the Chamber to develop various economic policy recommendations for New Mexico based on numerous conversations with business leaders. The information has been shared with elected officials and economic development experts throughout the State. You can find out details on those recommendations here.

Rob BlackTed Abernathy – BSAM

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Most states without mask mandates outperformed New Mexico on COVID 19 deaths

The Rio Grande Foundation is not and never has been “anti-mask,” but we support states that have chosen to move towards reopening. While President Biden called states like Texas which have recently reopened and dropped its mask requirement, “neanderthals” and Gov. Lujan Grisham stated that New Mexico would not be dropping its mask mandate anytime soon, the reality is that like so many aspects of COVID 19, it is hard to connect government containment policies with success.

Here is a map of states that do NOT require masks. According to WorldoMeters’ COVID tracking site, most of them have performed BETTER than New Mexico (15th-worst in the nation) on the virus (deaths per population).

Of the non-mandate states only Arizona, South Dakota, and North Dakota have higher death rates than New Mexico.

Every other state (a total of 12 of them) that lacks a mask mandate has a lower COVID death rate than does New Mexico.

Whether you wear a mask in public or not, it should be a personal decision, not a governmental one.

Texas to join 15 US states without statewide mask mandates | khou.com

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House Democrats vote (AGAIN) to raise taxes despite budget surplus

In 2019 the New Mexico Legislature passed a big tax hike despite the existence of a large budget surplus. Since the 2019 session and despite the COVID 19 pandemic, New Mexico government spending has continued grow.

And, as we push beyond the pandemic and the 2021 legislative session, New Mexico’s budget is again growing as are revenues. The House-passed budget would, if adopted, increase annual spending by nearly 5% while giving pay raises to government employees.

Now, HB 291 has passed the House largely along partisan lines although a few Democrats joined Republicans in opposition. The bill is ANOTHER income tax increase which would take the top rate from 5.9% (where it was after HB 6 increased it from 4.9%) to 6.5%.

Perhaps most troubling is the bill would allow the assessments used in property tax calculations to climb up to a mind-blowing 10% a year – rather than the usual 3% limit – for homes that aren’t the owner’s principal residence, beginning in 2024. It is questionable whether this kind of tax discrimination is even legal (especially since 2nd homes use FEWER services than homes that are occupied full-time), but this Democrat-dominated Legislature doesn’t seem to care much for details.

The bill now moves to the Senate where we will keep a close eye on it.

Big tax hike, timeout on annexations on agenda for Fayetteville Council -  The Citizen

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Committees will hear a mixed bag of legislation today

After starting off on the right foot by passing HB 177, legislative committees have more work to do this afternoon. The Senate Finance Committee has plenty on its plate, with the excellent SB 234 and the bad SB 130 on the schedule. Rolled over from a previous meeting, SB 234 would allow home schooled students access to the legislature’s lottery scholarship. SB 130 requires the state government’s vehicle fleet to be 75% electric by 2030. Although it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, keep an eye on this committee for the terrible SB 11, the Clean Fuel Standards Act. The Senate Finance Committee will meet beginning at 1 this afternoon or half an hour after the floor session.

The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee will hear the misguided HB 352, a moratorium on contractor-operated prisons. This bill would devastate several local economies and ignore the good that these systems have done for New Mexico communities. This meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:30 today.

The Rio Grande Foundation has submitted testimony in favor of SB 234 and in opposition to SB 130, SB 11, and HB 352.

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House committee to hear homemade food bill

In a meeting scheduled for 8:30 this morning, the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee will hear HB 177, the Homemade Food Act. This bill would bring New Mexico in line with 49 other states in allowing homemade food to be sold outside of farmers markets and roadside stands. It would also make the permitting procedure far less burdensome and expensive. There are no food safety concerns with this bill, and it would allow a long-prohibited economic lifeline that has become especially important in the current economic downturn.

You can watch the committee webcast here, or join the Zoom meeting for public comment here.

The Rio Grande Foundation submitted testimony in favor of HB 177.

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Senate Finance Committee scheduled to hear pro-homeschooling bill today

In a meeting scheduled for 1:30 or after the Senate floor session this afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee will hear a great bill from Senator Pirtle. SB 234 would allow home school students to access the legislative scholarship lottery on par with students in public and private schools.

You can watch the meeting webcast here.

The Rio Grande Foundation submitted testimony in favor of SB 234.

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House committee to hear another bad bill and a good bill tomorrow

In a meeting beginning tomorrow morning at 8 A.M., the House State Government, Elections, and Indian Affairs Committee will hear one good idea and another bad bill. HJR 6, the Termination of Emergency Declarations resolution, would limit the amount of time the governor could keep the state under an emergency declaration without legislative approval. This great piece of bipartisan legislation has already passed its first committee. The same committee will also consider HB 154, the Prescription Drug Affordability Act. Unfortunately, the bill proposes to create a new bureaucracy to review and cap drug prices, which is

You can find the webcast here, or join the Zoom meeting for public comment here.

The Rio Grande Foundation has submitted testimony in favor of HJR 6, and in opposition to HB 154.

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New Mexico REMAINS among most locked down states in US (44th most open) despite recent reopenings according to Wallethub

The latest Wallethub report (out today) ranks states based on Coronavirus restrictions. New Mexico remains relatively shuttered (44th most open). Worse than that, as can be seen below, New Mexico is in the unenviable position of having MANY COVID restrictions AND a high death rate. 

Furthermore (according to the bottom chart), New Mexico also has a high unemployment rate which, not surprisingly accompanies those economic restrictions.

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279 COVID-19 Lockdowns Get New Level, Legislative Session, Space, Sports and More

The Gov. shifts the goalposts on COVID-19 again. Most of this is good news as NM reopens further including Hinkle, Cliffs, and (presumably ABQ Isotopes) can open right now.  Bars and clubs: can reopen indoors in the newly-created Turquoise level. Sports fields, concert venues, movie theaters, entertainment centers: can reopen indoor activities at 25% capacity in green level. New Mexico is the only state in which movie theaters cannot open.

Gov. continues mask mandate. No end in sight for Gov. emergency orders.

Gov. says she’d veto any restrictions on her authority. HJR 6 is the path forward.

Doña Ana, Eddy, McKinley, and Otero county are all in the Red Level. DA slipped back from Yellow to Red.

A new website is tracking school reopening throughout the US by State. You can access their information here. 

Paul has a brief conversation with Steve Dodson about little league and youth sports and the fact that they can’t compete still.

UNM fires ANOTHER basketball coach, Paul Weir. The athletic department is running a $12.4 million and $13.8 million deficit and is now going to pay for yet another coaching buyout ($500,000). UNM will pay $100,000 of the $275,000 Weir still owes New Mexico State University for breaking his contract there four years ago to take the Lobos job in 2017.

HB 4 Civil Rights Act passed the House (Egolf conflict of interest);

HB 20 Mandatory Paid Sick Leave passed House;

HB 12 Marijuana Legalization passed House;

House passes budget (HB2) passes the House with pay hikes for gov’t employees (also missed opportunity to hold teachers accountable).

Keep on top of things at ErrorsofEnchantment.com AND Freedom Index.

Virgin Galactic delays test flight to May to take care of technical issues, according to SpaceNews. The delay will push the company’s first space tourist flights to 2022. That means the facility which opened on October 18, 2011 will not have tourist flights in its first decade after opening:

Deb Haaland heard in the US Senate. Manchin’s support means she will be confirmed;

Footage of event w/ Kevin Hassett National Review Institute event is available online and will appear in podcast feed. Paul’s article at National Review:

Whatever happened to the RailRunner?

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