Tipping Point NM Episode 143: Dr. Deane Waldman – “Curing the Cancer in US Health Care”

On this week’s interview Paul interviews Dr. Deane Waldman. Deane is both an MD (who practiced as a pediatric cardiologist at UNM Hospital) and an MBA. Deane is knowledgeable on the practice of health care and the policies impacting our health care system. He has written a new book called “Curing the Cancer in US Health Care.”

Deane and Paul overview the book and both its diagnosis as well as its cure for what ails Americans and their health care system. They also discuss some solutions that don’t involve action in Washington or Santa Fe.

 

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Tipping Point New Mexico Episode 142: Court Victory for Right to Work in New Mexico and more

On this week’s podcast, Paul shares more information on Democracy Dollars including some of the big funders pushing the issue in Albuquerque.

He shares how one chart from the Tax Foundation explains the serious problems with New Mexico’s GRT.

He revisits the UNM faculty’s decision to unionize and discusses it within the context of the US Supreme Court’s Janus decision. He then talks to Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Foundation about a big win they just had in New Mexico.

Then Paul shares information from the Wall Street Journal on higher education costs and connects that with Gov. MLG’s proposal for “free college”: “For every dollar in increased student loan availability, colleges increased the sticker price of their tuition 65 cents.”

Lastly, voters in Dona Ana County can win a small victory against corporate welfare in this election.

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Liberal City Council Candidate Receives $50,000 from California Environmental Groups

RGF president Paul Gessing sat down with KOAT Channel 7 to discuss a left-wing candidate running for Albuquerque City Council named Maureen Skowran who has received $50,000 in contributions from California-based environmental groups.  You can read the campaign finance reports here and here.

There are many interesting aspects to the story, not the least of which is what two California-based environmental groups want out of Albuquerque’s City Council. Also noteworthy is that New Mexico’s “Working Families Party” served as a conduit for this $50,000 donation.

As we recently pointed out, the “Working Families Party” just gave a cool $80,000 to support “Democracy Dollars” which is billed as an effort to get “big money out of politics,” (but only after we use big money from out-of-state to change the system and elect more leftist candidates.)

Who funds the “Working Families Party?” According to Wikipedia it is supported by a “coalition of labor unionscommunity organizations, members of the now-inactive national New Party, and a variety of advocacy groups such as Citizen Action of New York and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (the now-discredited and dissolved ACORN which is now OLÉ).

Click the photo below for the KOAT story.

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Tipping Point New Mexico Episode 141: Eminent Domain in Edgewood and Plastic Bag Ban in Carlsbad

In this week’s interview, Paul talks with Jerry Powers about a proposal to use eminent domain for the Town of Edgewood to acquire an existing privately-owned water system. Paul then visits with Carlsbad Current Argus reporter, Mike Smith, about a proposed plastic bag ban ordinance that is being set in motion in Carlsbad. You can read Mike’s story on the bag ban here.

 

 

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The big, dark money pushing “Democracy Dollars”

“Democracy Dollars” (the $25 campaign funding voucher idea on this Fall’s Albuquerque ballots) is being sold as an effort to get big money out of local politics. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The groups supporting “Democracy Dollars” have raised $400,000 on their cause (much of it from out-of-state).

You can find the latest financial report here. 

Other reports can be found here.

On this single report (covering just a week’s worth of time) you can see that the well-funded, socialistic, “Working Families Party” contributed more than $83,000 between 10/12/19 and 10/18/19 alone.  Other prominent financiers of the campaign include usual suspects OLÉ and Planned Parenthood, as well as out-of-state funders like: Rethink Media (based in Berkeley, California), Stand Up America (based in New York City), and the Center for Popular Democracy (based in Brooklyn).

Truly this is a well-funded, coordinated attempt by the big-money supporters of these left-wing groups to take over our local elections. Early voting is going on now. Be sure to get out and vote.

 

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Tipping Point New Mexico Episode 140: Plastic Bag Bans Spread, UNM to Unionize, Democracy Dollars and More

On this week’s podcast, Paul and Wally discuss the spread of plastic bag bans including one that is being discussed in Carlsbad.

The left put forth a dumb defense of Democracy Dollars. RGF hit Channel 7 to discuss the municipal election including Democracy Dollars and how Albuquerque residents can cut their taxes.

Santa Fe’s wild spending rumpus is just getting started.

About that big tax hike last session…

Shutdown of power plant impacting Navajo.

UNM faculty vote to unionize.

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Eminent Domain Abuse in Edgewood, NM

The Village of Edgewood, NM is in the East Mountains just outside of Albuquerque. It is currently served by a privately-owned water company, something that is quite common. The Town of Edgewood, led by its Mayor, is looking at using the power of “eminent domain” to forcibly TAKE the Town’s privately owned water company.

The following was written by Edgewood resident and guest columnist Jerry Powers:

Unfortunately, Edgewood Mayor John Bassett has taken it on himself, without a council vote, to authorize the town’s attorney to write a letter to Epcor on May 17, 2018, stating:

“The purpose of this letter is to formally express the Town’s intent to purchase or begin condemnation proceedings to acquire the Epcor Edgewood Water System (“System”).”

When Edgewood residents got wind of this action by the Mayor, residents demanded a public meeting (in July 2018) where residents expressed their overwhelming disapproval of these actions. Despite this, the Mayor and Councilors Holle and Abrams have continued to take actions to further the project including spending over $35,000 on an engineering report and have since spent town funds on attorney’s fees regarding this project. They have also continued to discuss the project in closed meetings, behind closed doors, outside of public view.

Recently several residents, including myself, have made repeated requests of the Mayor and council to hold public hearings on the matter before it comes to a vote, with no response. Without these public hearings, a vote could be put on the agenda and voted on by the council at any time without adequate input from the public.

Besides the obvious and glaring avoidance and disregard of public input, there are numerous problems with the town’s acquisition of the water system that will have negative effects for years to come:

1. Epcor won’t voluntarily sell the system. This means the Town will have to use “Condemnation” or Eminent Domain to “take” the water system. There are numerous studies and case history examples where the original estimates in condemnation proceedings have routinely ended up double or even triple the estimates! (Search on http://truthfromthetap.com/condemnation/ to see the studies for yourself)

2. The engineering report estimates the acquisition will cost us $14,000,000. If accurate, this would increase the town’s long-term debt to 240% of current levels. If the estimate is low, as case study after case study suggest, the new debt could actually be as high as $28,000,000 and would increase long-term debt to 380% of current levels! This would be the single largest purchase and increase in debt since the Town’s incorporation and yet it is all happening behind closed doors.

3. We have our own local example in El Dorado, just outside Santa Fe. The initial projected cost to acquire the water system was $6,000,000. After condemnation the cost was over $12,000,000! This caused hookup fees to go up by $11,000 and their rates are now the highest in the state! In addition, El Dorado added a 4% property tax to help fund the ill-advised takeover, which is paid separately from the record high water rates!

4. If Edgewood condemns the Epcor water system and it goes like the studies and case histories suggest, our rates would at least double. An average family of 3 would pay about $140-180 per month!

5. Right now, we the citizens and rate-payers are protected from unnecessary and unreasonable rate increases by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC). Epcor is subject to PRC regulation and must prove the necessity and reasonableness of any and all rate increases. Once the water system is owned by the Town, water rates are completely unregulated!

Given these facts, the overwhelming public disapproval at the July 2018 public meeting, and the Mayor’s campaign promise to listen to the people and only do what’s in their best interests, why is this hostile takeover proceeding?
If you believe that the Town should listen to the people and want to stop this costly, ill-conceived boondoggle, please sign the online petition before the town is mired in debt and a several-year-long legal battle that could double or triple our water rates. The petition can be signed at www.eyeonedgewood.com
Jerry Powers

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A graphic explainer of problems with New Mexico’s Gross Receipts Tax

The Washington, DC-based Tax Foundation has published an interesting report on the myriad problems with gross receipts taxes (like New Mexico’s). We at the Rio Grande Foundation have long supported reforms put forth most recently by Rep. Jason Harper (R) and Sen. John Arthur-Smith (D). Speaker Brian Egolf spoke favorably about GRT reform recently and Gov. Lujan Grisham recently announced a task force to “study” GRT reform. 

Two graphic illustrations put together by the Tax Foundation can be found. The first chart shows how a traditional sales tax works. Below that is a chart illustrating the problem with a GRT like New Mexico’s. Will the current Legislature and Gov. address the serious issues of NM’s GRT? I don’t know. They have not shown a very strong grasp of basic economics to date. But, this chart illustrates to average people what the basic economic (not political) problem is with the GRT.

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Janus decision no obstacle to UNM unionization, but it does protect workers from forced dues payements

At the Rio Grande Foundation we’ve been pretty much silent on the big unionization vote over at UNM. As it turns out the pro-union side won handily. We are skeptical that unionization will solve the serious management issues at UNM, but there are a few important issues we feel need to be pointed out:

  1. The US Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision allowing government employees (like UNM employees) “right to work status” did not deter or prevent unionization. Many supporters of forced unionism complained that the Court’s decision was meant to “destroy” public sector unions. It did nothing of the sort and government employee unions remain among the most influential interest groups in New Mexico and other states.
  2. Good news for UNM faculty and adjunct faculty! Thanks to the Janus decision if you don’t WANT to join the new union or pay the dues, you don’t have to no matter what you are told by the union organizers and supporters.

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