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by Rep. Greg Nibert (R-Chaves and Lincoln Counties)
Winning the lottery is not a guarantee of happiness or success. We’ve all heard stories of lottery winners declaring bankruptcy just a few years after receiving multi-million-dollar payouts. Most of these tales of good fortunes gone bad share a common thread: uncontrolled spending.
New Mexico has won the oil and gas lottery. Due to the oil and natural gas boom in the Permian Basin, the state budget will likely experience a third straight year of having a billion-plus dollars in surplus revenues. From Fiscal Years 2019 – 2021, the oil and gas boom has generated or is projected to generate $3.2 billion in surplus for the state.
Owls, more owls and federal land grabbers
In response to a 2013 lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians on behalf of the Mexican spotted owl, a federal judge in Arizona has ordered a halt to timber operations on all New Mexico forests and one forest in Arizona (about 12 million acres). WildEarth Guardians Executive Director John Horning said, “With this decision, the agencies will finally be held accountable for ensuring that all forest management practices help, not hinder, owl recovery.” The attorney for the organization on this case explained that “certain timber projects will be paused in light of the judge’s decision.”
Since this has the potential to affect many things, including forest-thinning projects designed to limit wildfires, let’s take a closer look at what the judge actually ruled.
By Senator Pete Campos
As the combination of record state revenues, a new administration and momentum from the 2019 legislative session continues, I believe that New Mexico is on the doorstep of prosperity undreamt of only a short time ago. As we better understand the magnitude of oil reserves in the Permian Basin and work with private industry and our research institutions to expand the limits of those reserves, we can propel ourselves into this bright future by strategically investing in three critical areas: education, energy and behavioral health care.
By Paul J. Gessing
Gov. Lujan Grisham has put forth a plan (set for debate and possible approval in the 2020 Legislature) for “free” college for New Mexico residents. For many families this may seem like an unadulterated good thing. And, as the parent of three who is pondering (and already saving for) the college educations of his three children, I totally understand that reaction.
But, from the viewpoint of an economist or even someone who is simply concerned about New Mexico’s future, there are several serious problems with this proposal.
Currently, the Governor and Legislature are salivating at the prospect of a $900+ million surplus in 2020. That number may be even higher due to the recent uptick in oil prices. The plan is for “free” college to cost “just” $25-$35 million annually. Unfortunately, we have nothing from the Lujan Grisham Administration to justify that cost. Given the tendency of government officials to underestimate the cost of new programs (the Rail Runner and Spaceport come to mind) it would seem that the real cost even at the beginning will be much higher.
By Stewart Rooks, Grant County Farm and Livestock Bureau president
The WildEarth Guardians and their elitist, radical members have struck another blow against hard-working, rural New Mexicans. As a result of their lawsuit against the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service, a judge in Arizona declared that all National Forests in New Mexico, and the Tonto Forest in Arizona, are closed to any type of timber management. This includes collecting wood for personal use such as heating your home, thinning projects that reduce fire risks, and harvesting of timber for commercial use. Why? Why are we eliminating an affordable fuel source for the poor and sacrificing our timber industry that is already struggling from previous lawsuits? So that the status of the Mexican Spotted Owl population can be determined.
New Mexico (September 25, 2019) — The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) announced today that it is calling on New Mexico’s Congressional delegation to protect New Mexican’s who depend on wood for heat and to defend New Mexico forestry related jobs.
NMBC President Carla Sonntag said, “The lawsuit filed by Wild Earth Guardians in Arizona based on concerns over ‘inadequate tabulation and monitoring’ of the Mexican Spotted Owl has resulted in the U.S. Forest Service taking drastic action that will harm New Mexicans. The result, ‘Immediately suspending issuance and implementation of active and new commercial and personal-use forest product permits.’ This overreaction to a broadly worded lawsuit stops all forest management activities across the Lincoln, Santa Fe, Cibola, Carson, and Gila national forests across New Mexico. Many New Mexicans rely on wood to heat their homes and winter is right around the corner.”
By Gavin Clarkson
LAS CRUCES, NM- A former law professor running for U.S. Senate in New Mexico is suggesting that both Biden and Obama could be subject to retroactive impeachment according to the standard House Democrats are now applying to President Trump.
“The House can impeach and the Senate can convict someone even after they leave office,” Clarkson argues, “with the penalty being a permanent ban from holding future office. The trial of War Secretary William Belknap clearly established a precedent that Congress retains impeachment jurisdiction over former officials, as did the 1797 impeachment trial of Tennessee Senator William Blount, which proceeded even after he was expelled by his fellow senators.”
By Yvette Herrell
President Trump is keeping his pledge on border security – despite the Democrats’ obstruction campaign, the new border wall is coming to New Mexico.
Construction crews have already begun reinforcing a 46-mile stretch of the border to protect our state from the growing threat of illegal immigration. For all intents and purposes, this is actually a brand new stretch of border wall, because the old barrier did practically nothing to stop people from crossing the border into New Mexico illegally, as demonstrated in a video clip from 2005 that shows illegal immigrants swarming over it with ease.
Check out a new column that will talk about the town of Silver City and its news and services.
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