Public Employee Union Boss Calls for Higher Taxes: Is this News?

If there’s one thing that’s as reliable as the sun coming up, it’s that public employee unions (like the Albuquerque Teachers Federation) believe that bigger government is better and that taxes should go up. So, it was with absolutely no surprise that I saw this “news” story from KOAT Channel 7 that included union leader Ellen Bernstein calling for the budget deficit to be closed with “creative revenue sources.” Bernstein went on to suggest taxing alcohol to generate $43 million and suggests that the governor close corporate tax loopholes to bring in more revenue for the state.

Of course, Bernstein and her union buddies flatly refuse to even consider that maybe, just maybe, there is some bloat and waste in New Mexico’s budget. Nor do they wish to comprehend that the $70 million shelled out for the film industry or the $20+ million spent on the Rail Runner could have any negative impact on their own budgets.

For a far more interesting discussion of New Mexico’s budget situation, check out this interview I did with Fred Martino of NewsMakers in Las Cruces. My interview starts at the 5:15 minute mark:

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5 Replies to “Public Employee Union Boss Calls for Higher Taxes: Is this News?”

  1. When are we going to wake up! The unions have become so fat, sedentary and powerful that they are choking the life out of our society’s ability to work ourselves out of this recession. The unions are building the fanciest building in town and have the fattest coffers; why? Because their union membership keeps allowing direct deposit of their dues. And they should, the union bosses have done a good job of feathering membership nests and their own. BUT, the parties over and the SCAM has reached PONZI scheme status. We are wake now – a little groggy, but soon to be fully alert. The taxpayer is not going to be squeezed any more. It may take another election cycle for New Mexico, but it’s going to happen. And we have the right Governor to steer us through the muddle and she’s got a backbone to weather the pushback. Look at the EIB!!!

  2. Naturally teachers are a very special and important component of our society. Particularly since education and ability has fallen drastically from first place in the USA. In many cases if a good USA student joins a foreign exchange student program they are advised to drop to the next lower grade when entering the foreign school system due to it’s superiority over that of the USA.

    For this reason alone, teachers need our support- the issue is not only the ability to teach – but the students ability and desire to learn. Teachers should not waste their time on students who don’t want to be in school and/or have a bad attitude. They should proceed directly to manul labor schools and allow the teachers to focus on those with a higher aptitude for learning.

    However, every restriction on entry and exit into a profession (teaching in this case) reduces the security of the rest of the public/society. When the income of some professionals is secured in this manner, the field of opportunities for others is consequently diminished. If the teachers union is allowed to diminish “others” in the form of retaining higher wages, guaranteed jobs and secured position(s) and salaries; we must fully realize the impact and consequences.

    The protection of their standard of employment (if brought about by the state government) regarded by the union as an entitelment; means that they are not willing to share in the common misfortune of the state budget. Which has been so totally wrecked by the former governor, their hero and staunch supporter.

    Taxes on alcohol and removal of tax incentives for industries like the film industry should be seriously considered though; and I would support this activity whole heartedly. However, it would not be well undertaken as an effort to “preserve the teacher’s union”.

  3. What’s disappointing is the lack of facts and figures in the education debate. Reporters have not asked, and school officials have not revealed, info on:
    –How much is spent on custodial and other support services, and why these services are provided via employees on the payroll and not outside contractors.
    –How employee headcount has tracked with school enrollment.
    –The ratio of classroom to non-classroom employee headcount.
    I posed these questions to my local APS school board member and got no reply.

  4. Gessing, the Rio Grande Foundation, Gov. Martinez and other lawmakers absolutely miss the point – here’s the point – the richest New Mexicans are not sharing the sacrifice!

    Gessing, Martinez and many state lawmakers say all of us are required to share the sacrifice. But, they don’t mean the richest 1% – 2% of New Mexicans.

    “Tough financial times require all of us to share the sacrifice,” Gov. Martinez said while unveiling her budget recommendations. All of us? Please, we didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday!

    Gessing, Martinez and lawmakers need to stop the lying. “All of us” aren’t sharing the sacrifice during these tough economic times. And, that’s the problem.

    If you’re one of the New Mexicans who are fortunate enough to earn a net income of $295,000 or more [that’s 1% -2% of the 2 million people who live here], then Gessing, Martinez and lawmakers don’t want you to share the sacrifice. And, legislators who make the laws aren’t legally requiring you to share the sacrifice.

    If you’re a rich New Mexican, then you’re getting off because you’re only paying a state income tax rate of 4%.

    Paying a 4% state income tax rate instead of 8% is not a sacrifice or a burden. It’s a tax cut. And, it comes at a time when New Mexico desperately needs revenues to finance K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

    Tax cuts for the richest New Mexicans were passed by Gov. Richardson’s machine [Sen. Jennings & Smith, House Speaker Lujan] in 2003 when New Mexico had huge budget surpluses.

    In fact, these New Mexico income tax cuts for the rich were passed after President Bush and Congress passed federal income tax cuts for the rich. If you net $250,000 or more, you benefit from a federal income tax cut and a state income tax cut. Now we’re talking real money.

    But all this cutting of taxes for the super-rich has become an economic disaster. Today, the New Mexico income tax cuts for the wealthiest are responsible for a $350 million state budget deficit. Adding insult to injury, there are no jobs. New Mexicans were promised that the rich would use money from their tax cuts to create jobs. Another lie!

    Until Gessing, Martinez and lawmakers fess-up to this, and roll New Mexico’s tax cuts for the rich back to the eight (8) percent rate they were paying until 2004, there’s no way out of this mess. The last three years prove it.

    State lawmakers have cut New Mexico’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities every year since 2008 in vain efforts to balance the gap between expenditures and revenues. But, that didn’t solve the problem. Education cuts didn’t fix the budget deficit then, and more cuts won’t fix the deficit today.

    Gessing, Martinez and lawmakers want to cut education again. But, more cuts will only harm more students and create more deficits.

    It’s time pundits like Gessing, and lawmakers like Gov. Martinez and our legislators were honest about this debate, i.e. the rich are not paying their share of taxes.

    Gessing, the Rio Grande Foundation, Gov. Martinez, our state representatives and state senators are only beginning to feel pressure from us, the other 98% – 99% of New Mexico’s citizens — those of us who net less than $250,000. That pressure will result in raising revenues for New Mexico’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

    The Jan 17 demonstration at the State Capitol to Raise Revenues for Education laid down a marker. It was the beginning of a statewide rally of citizens, who over the next 60 legislative days, will launch a series of community-based events. These events will persuade state lawmakers to raise revenues, override a Gov. Martinez veto [if necessary], and use the money to sufficiently fund our schools, colleges and universities.

  5. The pension spiking debackle is a good place for the US Federal Government to step in. On grounds of national security. What Congress should do is unilaterally strip the spikers of their spikes. And set pensions at a reasonable level. Like $100k max. Why should the Federal government help spendthrifts?

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