Tuesday, June 25, 2019

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

1. 'WE'RE DRIVING A CAR WE CAN'T AFFORD" -- REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS VOICE CONCERNS AS NEW MEXICO SPEEDS UP TAX REBATES TO FILM INDUSTRY

From the Associated Press:

New Mexico announced tax rebate payouts of nearly $100 million to producers of film and television shows that were shot within the state in recent years, as the state’s Democratic governor courts new investments and industry jobs.

The Taxation and Revenue Department said Thursday that payments of $98.5 million will be issued this week to 98 shows.

Legislation signed this year by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham removes a $50 million annual cap on film production tax credit payments and provides money to clear a portion of the backlog of applications....

Some state lawmakers expressed unease Thursday with the extent of the newly approved film industry incentives, at a hearing of the lead state budget committee in Portales.

“We’re driving a car that we can’t afford,” said Republican Rep. Phelps Anderson of Roswell, suggesting that the state won’t be able to sustain promised film rebates indefinitely.

Sen. James White, R-Albuquerque, said film productions generate taxes on sales and services — but suspects that profits ultimately are sheltered from state corporate income taxes.

“It’s fun having them here. It’s just expensive,” he said.

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Last week, we shed some light on this and how one analyst of the film industry put it: "Uncapped incentives have gotten other states in trouble."

Just imagine if the state is obligated to pay out, let's say, $500 million in rebates to these studios? When will we reach the limit of what we can actually afford?

What if anything are Democrats doing to prevent New Mexico from encountering the same problems that states like Louisiana and Georgia faced because of these kinds of handouts?

Again, we ask the question: When these big studios come in, they push away the smaller, local studios who committed to New Mexico long ago. What exactly are we doing for them?

2. MORE EVIDENCE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN EASTERN NEW MEXICO

As Democrats like Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and U.S. Sen Martin Heinrich lob unfounded criticism of President Trump's plan to limit the flow of migrants into the U.S., now comes MORE evidence of human trafficking right here in New Mexico.

From KOB Eyewitness News:

Officials in southern New Mexico said they have found seven Guatemalan migrants in a house used for human trafficking.

The Chaves County Sheriff's Office posted about the "stash house" on Facebook overnight. ICE took the seven Guatemalan men, including two teenagers, into custody.

The sheriff's office warns that more human trafficking stash houses like this one could be found in Chaves County with the border patrol checkpoints closed.

The woman responsible for this stash house was on the lam from U.S. Homeland Security for days. But yesterday she turned herself in:

From KRQE News:

A woman accused of running a stash house for undocumented immigrants has turned herself in.

Federal investigators issued an arrest warrant for Christine McDonald after they found seven teenagers from Guatemala inside a Roswell home they say belonged to her.

The Chaves County Sheriff says she showed up at his office Monday morning. She’s now been turned over to Homeland Security.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED IN NEW MEXICO.
In February, Investigators also found a stash house in Dexter with 70 people inside

Last year, another stash house in Clovis discovered last year had 12 people inside

3. GOVERNOR REVERSES UNION DUES RULE

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration is reversing a policy imposed by her Republican predecessor by allowing state employee union members to have dues deducted from their paychecks without declaring that they are waiving their First Amendment rights.

The Democratic administration that took office this year is issuing new sign-up forms for the payroll deductions which differ from ones that former Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration issued last year in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that curbed the power of public employee unions.

In a 5-4 decision in August, the high court ruled that states no longer could collect “fair share” fees from workers who aren’t union members to help cover costs of negotiating contracts, which the court majority found violated those workers’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

However, the Martinez administration also stopped collecting union dues from paychecks for hundreds of workers who are union members, requiring them to file forms saying they were waiving their First Amendment rights.