Episode 538: Gun Ban in Bernalillo County, COVID Past and Present, Literacy Institute Proposed, Issues with EVs and Mandates

MLG goes full totalitarian with a ban on carrying guns in public in Bernalillo County. 

As COVID cases rise and some places reinstate restrictions, RGF notes that he and the skeptics were right and MLG and the lock downers were wrong. 

local blogger believes that since she won the election she was right about COVID.

MLG asks for a $30 million Literacy Institute.

As we move toward the EIB making a decision on MLG’s EV mandate RGF posts a fairly comprehensive list of issues with EV’s and EV mandates in particular.

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The hits keep coming for EV’s: Biden energy secretary’s disastrous EV outing (and a coalition forms!)

While a great deal of attention has been focused on Gov. Lujan’s anti-gun policies recently, but it is worth noting that she remains committed to eliminating individual choices New Mexicans make when they purchase a car.

A recent story involving Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm highlights the challenge of EV’s.  According to NPR, “Granholm’s trip through the southeast, from Charlotte, N.C., to Memphis, Tenn., was intended to draw attention to the billions of dollars the White House is pouring into green energy and clean cars.”

Her caravan of EVs — including a luxury Cadillac Lyriq, a hefty Ford F-150 and an affordable Bolt electric utility vehicle — was planning to fast-charge in Grovetown, a suburb of Augusta, Georgia.

Her advance team realized there weren’t going to be enough plugs to go around. One of the station’s four chargers was broken, and others were occupied. So an Energy Department staffer tried parking a nonelectric vehicle by one of those working chargers to reserve a spot for the approaching secretary of energy.

That did not go down well: a regular gas-powered car blocking the only free spot for a charger?

In fact, a family that was boxed out — on a sweltering day, with a baby in the vehicle — was so upset they decided to get the authorities involved: They called the police.

Later on in the story it is noted that “According to the auto-data giant J.D. Power, worries about public chargers are the No. 1 reason why would-be EV buyers are reluctant to make the switch, even outranking concerns about high prices. And driver satisfaction with public chargers is getting worse, not better.”

Numerous problems with EV’s can be found in the story.

Because New Mexico is not alone among  “blue” states in embracing EV mandates. Thus, Rio Grande Foundation has joined a national  coalition called “Save our Cars” to fight back against those like Michelle Lujan Grisham who would take away our vehicle choice.

Find out more about the national Save our Cars Coalition which Rio Grande Foundation is a member of by clicking below.

Finally, federal legislation has been introduced in Congress to preserve Americans’ right to purchase the car of their choice. H.R. 1435, the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, led by Rep. John Joyce would end California’s and New Mexico’s (to name two states) efforts to ban gas-powered cars and preserve Americans’ ability to choose the vehicles that best suit their lives.


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Even on the left and among gun control advocates MLG’s gun grab is wrong

As we noted recently, Gov. Lujan Grisham took the outrageous step of banning the carrying of guns in Bernalillo County for 30 days.  Here are just a few of the many gun control proponents who have stated publicly that MLG’s order goes too far (the post includes a response from MLG):

And, while Elon Musk is certainly not a “progressive.” He is rather heterodox in his views. Here’s what Musk had to say:

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MLG’s latest unconstitutional power grab: suspend 2nd Amendment for 30 days

With the end of COVID emergencies nationwide (and in New Mexico) by spring of 2023, people have been waiting to see what the next “public health emergency” would be and where it would take place. Some believed it would be on the environment and climate. Others thought another round of COVID would bring it on, but as it turns out the issue is guns and the location is New Mexico. where Michelle Lujan Grisham has imposed a 30 day ban on carrying a gun in Bernalillo County. 

The plan is clearly unconstitutional and illegal under New Mexico laws. But the point seems to be that no rights are safe in New Mexico under this Gov. She will suspend your rights in an “emergency” and let the courts sort things out in time.

Attacking both the 2nd Amendment AND New Mexico gun law could be just a prelude to other rights in the future.

MLG signs executive order to ban firearms in all public spaces in  Bernalillo County. : r/Albuquerque

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Tipping Point NM episode 537: Representative Larry Scott – Electricity Policy, Gross Receipts Tax Reform and more

On this week’s interview Paul talks to Rep. Larry Scott. Rep. Scott represents part of Hobbs, NM in the Legislature as a Republican. Paul and Larry discuss the electricity situation in New Mexico and whether nuclear might be a part of the “energy transition.” They also discuss other issues with New Mexico’s electricity reliability and price.

Paul and Larry then talk about the prospects for gross receipts tax reform and how a bill passed in 2019 impacts those prospects.  Also, Rep. Scott has introduced legislation to assist New Mexico local governments hold onto additional tax revenues that could assist with replacing revenue lost previously as well as potential lost revenue from needed GRT reform.

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RGF in National Review Capital Matters: Bill Richardson: Another Clinton-Era Democrat Exits

The following appeared in National Review’s Capital Matters on September 8, 2023.

With the passing of former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, yet another Democrat of a bygone era departs the scene. Richardson was personally friendly and ideologically simpatico with Bill Clinton, helping the president pass the NAFTA free-trade agreement and then being named U.N. ambassador for the final few years of that administration.

Free trade is (sadly) increasingly unpopular on both sides of the aisle, and in this sense both Richardson and Clinton are creatures of a different era.

However, it is worth examining Richardson’s economic record as governor of New Mexico to better understand his own career and just how far and fast the Democratic Party has moved to the left (both nationally as well as in the Land of Enchantment).

Richardson was governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. He had the good fortune of succeeding Gary Johnson. You see, while New Mexico used to be a purple state on the national stage, its legislature was and has remained a stronghold of big-government Democrats. Johnson, known to many New Mexicans as “Governor No,” was known for his prodigious use of the veto pen. As a libertarian-leaning Republican, he did this, in part, to keep a lid on government spending.

Johnson’s attempts to get tax cuts through the heavily Democratic New Mexico legislature proved fruitless, but when Richardson took over in 2003, he immediately pushed for significant tax reductions. He cut the state’s top income-tax rate from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent and reduced capital-gains taxes dramatically. He wasn’t just a tax-cutting Democrat. In his era, he was arguably the best tax-cutting governor in the nation. This paid off in strong job-creation numbers and personal-income growth, and New Mexico jumped from the 47th- to the 42nd-ranked state in personal incomes in just a few years. Pro-growth economic policy is no longer an element of Democratic politics.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson dead at 75

But Richardson was by no means an avid supply-sider. During an era of strong economic growth nationally and in the relatively impoverished Land of Enchantment, Richardson sadly fell into the trap of putting significant taxpayer resources into big-government boondoggles.

It is worth noting that much of this (good and bad) was leading up to a run for the White House in 2008. As governor of a small, impoverished state with a low national profile, Richardson, who already had federal-government experience, believed that he needed a splashy track record of transforming New Mexico’s economy.

To that end, he created the Rail Runner commuter train, which began operation in 2006 and runs nearly 100 miles, from the south of Albuquerque to the state capital in Santa Fe. It cost more than a mind-blowing $1 billion to build (it needed 20 miles of brand-new track) and requires more than $20 million in annual taxpayer subsidies to operate. Despite running between two of New Mexico’s largest cities, much of the route is sparsely populated. As with so many transit systems in the Covid and post-Covid eras, it continues to lose what little ridership it had.

Another one of Richardson’s taxpayer-funded projects that remains unproven (at best), even after having launched more than a decade ago, is Spaceport America. Billed as the “world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport,” it has finally seen its first commercial space-tourism flight, via Virgin Galactic. The spaceport, in the harsh desert of southern New Mexico, was built at the behest of Richardson for Virgin Galactic at a cost of $225 million to taxpayers, though add-ons and further investments have driven the cost to around $275 million, and the facility already needs major repairs.

Subsidies for particular companies, including personal-jet manufacturer Eclipse Aviation and solar-panel manufacturer Schott Solar, also failed to ensure long-term economic success. In fact, those companies went out of business long ago, which only proves government’s unfitness for picking winners and losers.

Finally, Richardson laid the groundwork for New Mexico’s costly film subsidies, which have helped the film industry while failing to more broadly develop New Mexico’s economy. The program, as Richardson designed it, led to New Mexico taxpayers reimbursing Hollywood film producers for up to 25 percent of their overall expenses for filming in the state. Richardson is by no means the only politician to have thrown money at Hollywood: Under current Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, the program has expanded even further, offering producers a subsidy of up to 40 percent of their expenses.

Highlighting his relative moderation, Richardson (gently) reproached Governor Lujan Grisham for her overly zealous and failed Covid lockdown strategy. He also (sagely) urged state legislators and Lujan Grisham to avoid raising taxes in the most recent legislative session. During this session, New Mexico had a $3.6 billion (42 percent) year-over-year budget surplus, yet Democrats in the legislature were seriously considering a number of tax hikes.

Fortunately, they did not go through.

Bill Richardson’s death is a reminder of just how far the Democratic Party has moved to the left on economic policy. His willingness to listen to all sides and try to forge consensus across party lines is sorely missing from today’s politics.

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Numerous specific issues with electric vehicles and especially government mandating them

MLG’s plan to push an electric vehicle mandate through the Environmental Improvement Board is kicking into gear. The Board is expected to begin deliberation on ramping up New Mexico’s EV mandate to 43% by 2027 and 82% by 2032 on November 15.

This is a DEEPLY flawed policy that Rio Grande Foundation will be working hard to stop. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the many reasons why EV mandates are harmful:

Ultimately, EV’s may or may not be a good replacement technology for the internal combustion engine. But, government through mandates and extensive subsidies should not be the final arbiter of this choice. That should fall to consumers. Sadly, Gov. Lujan Grisham has joined the EV bandwagon at the expense of personal freedom.

Turning California's EV Zero Emissions Mandate Into Reality | Resource Capital Funds

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Thoughts on MLG’s “literacy institute”

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s announced $30 million “literacy institute” drew groans from conservatives online. New Mexico education spending has exploded on a per-pupil basis in recent years as  oil and gas money has boosted spending and fewer students are in the public system (NM is now ranked 20th nationwide per-pupil). The State spends more than $4 billion for results that by all accounts are abysmal.

So, what’s another $30 million “literacy institute” going to do? If the money results in improved teaching of reading and better student outcomes it will be money well spent. On the other hand, New Mexico already spends more than $15,000 per-student and fails to get the results of states that spend closer to $10,000 per student.  This doesn’t even include all those education degrees for teachers who should have been taught to read in their college of education.

So, if it works, great, $30 million is a drop in the bucket in a State that already spends more than $4 billion on the worst results in the nation. Of course, Mississippi is just one of large number of states that has dramatically improved education outcomes at a fraction of the cost that New Mexico achieves the very worst outcomes.

Eight New Mexico schools named 'model schools' for literacy

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Tipping Point Episode 536: Gov. Richardson’s Passing, Joe The Plumber, Call To Censor Free Speech At NMSU, NM Doctor Shortage And more

During this week’s conversation Paul and Wally discuss their respective recent trips out of state and their coincidentally winding up on the same flight.

With the recent passing of former NM Gov. Bill Richardson, Paul and Wally discuss him and his mixed legacy in New Mexico. 

Joe “The Plumber” who once spoke at an RGF-sponsored event  also passed recently. Paul and Wally discuss his rise to notoriety.

Some leftist southern NM Democrats are calling for NMSU to censor conservative speakers like Matt Walsh.

Op-ed; Time for an All of the Above approach to education (plus our conference).

More work needed to address NM’s doctor shortage, especially in rural NM.

Oxfam has a report on “Best States to Work.” The report misses the boat, but even more importantly is the fact that with a $1 billion + annual budget it raises questions about what the organization is telling impoverished foreigners.

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Downtown Starbucks has closed as of July 31

Whether you are a fan of Starbucks or not, these stores are like printing money and with no other Starbucks located within the downtown ABQ urban core, it is NOT a good sign that this store has closed permanently. There are plenty of other great coffee places downtown and we’ve been to a number of them, but tourists and others in a hurry love their Starbucks.

Why the store closed is hard to say. It seemed busy enough. It WAS closed for a LONG time during COVID, but had been open for the last year or so. Crime? Lack of downtown foot traffic? Inability to find employees?

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