By Senator Pete Campos
I want to take a moment to clear up a few issues concerning New Mexico's legislative retirement plan. Our retirement plan is unique because New Mexico is unique. We are a citizen legislature - the only one in the nation that does not pay members some kind of salary. New Mexico legislators spend days and weeks away from their families, loved ones and jobs during legislative sessions and during the interim. While we legislators do receive per diem and mileage reimbursement, this tends to barely cover gasoline, hotels and meals, and it does not account for wear and tear to vehicles or lost personal income.
The legislative retirement plan actually began in 1987 as part of the retirement system for all public employees. The plan was amended, and a separate funding stream for it was identified, in 2003. As of the end of 2017, 313 members have signed up for the plan, with just over half of those members already retired. The plan is administered by the Public Employees Retirement Association.
By Senator Pete Campos
After spending the past several years trying to dig ourselves out of a financial recession and slow economic growth, New Mexico has the potential for a bright future, but only if we have our priorities in order. On the one hand, the human spirit is dynamic, fluid and persistent and is led by our curiosity and an innate need to address issues that affect our lives and to help one another. At the same time, we are faced with news of shocking crime against children, senseless road accidents, addictions that devastate individuals and families and robberies that can financially cripple small businesses. As the current legislative session winds down, legislators are working hard to balance those two narratives and to identify priorities that will help our state grow while trying to tackle some of the darker issues we face.
To the Editor:
The decline of Scholarship money from the WNMU Foundation
The WNMU Foundation paid out $114,678 in scholarship money during the 2016-17 school year. Total expenses of the Foundation for the year was $514,497, so only 22% of the Foundation expenses went to scholarships. To get an idea of the benefits students get from that amount of scholarship money, it will buy only 17 full tuition and fees scholarships.
During the 2010-11 school year, the last year for President Counts, the Foundation paid out $222,140 in scholarship money, total expenses was $391,547, so 57% of expenses went to scholarships. Scholarship money for this year was the equivalent of 62 tuition and fee scholarships.
By Kenneth J. Martinez, Psy.D.
There's an old proverb, "no cuentes los pollos antes de nacer,"one shouldn't count their chickens before they're hatched. Meaning that it's foolish to assume that every egg laid is going to result in a healthy chicken that you can sell at market.
It's a cautionary adage that the state Legislature would be wise to follow.
New Mexico lawmakers are now gathered for the annual creation of the state's budget. They have an estimated $330 million more in state funds than they did last year. The federal tax package that recently passed may also bring more new money into the state's coffers.
I've read with interest the articles and letters regarding the Air Force proposal to expand their flying training zone. Now I read that there is a call for folks to gather together to stop the training proposal.
My mantra has always been that if you don't ask, you don't get. So I offered a suggestion to Commissioner Alicia Edwards on how perhaps there is a win-win solution for both parties…those opposed to the Air Force flying training expansion, and those of you, like me, who would support a planned expansion. Commissioner Edwards told me she'd discuss my proposal with other commissioners.
By Senator Pete Campos
Capital outlay funding is a controversial and difficult process. The demand for state money far exceeds the funds available; for the 2018 legislative session, state and local governments have requested over $2 billion for capital outlay funded by general obligation and severance tax bonds. The Department of Finance and Administration (DFA), the General Services Department and legislators are responsible for prioritizing these requests and allocating funds, but frequently find themselves missing the tools necessary to do so.
Once again, we have seen the intolerant behavior of the Left in the defacing of a sign created to show support for President Trump. The message on this sign was partially altered with vulgar wording and even fired upon with what may have been a shotgun. The hypocrisy of Liberals, Leftists, and Democrats just goes on and on.
Any viewpoint that doesn't conform to their belief is answered with violence and destruction. Those who claim to be Anti-Fascists need to study a little bit of history where they just may discover that their behavior parallels Fascism in Nazi Germany and Italy during the 1930s and a big part of that was to silence the opposition. How about practicing what you preach and start showing some respect to people who don't see things as you do? Is that too much to ask? Isn't that what Democracy is all about?
Women rule the world. This weekend women across the US were encouraging one another to run for office, to vote, and to “resist.”
Although we need more balance in New Mexico elected leadership, I want to encourage women across our state to lead where they are.
We already have the collective power to change our communities!
Women dominate early childhood in NM. Let’s assure every child under our watch is safe, healthy, and ready for school.
The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.
The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.
The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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