Editorial content. Content posted here may or may not reflect the opinions of the Beat. They reflect the opinions of the author.

Session could have been a lot worse

By Paul J. Gessing

The 2022 30-day legislative session could have been much worse. It is no secret that we at the Rio Grande Foundation have disagreed with most of Michelle Lujan Grisham's major efforts as Governor. She surprised many of us in her State of the State speech when she proposed elimination of the Social Security tax in New Mexico.

After three years of ruling as a hard left "progressive," the Governor's change of tune heading into the 2022 session was notable. Is her move solely due to her impending reelection? We'll never know, but it is a welcome shift.

The most notable good legislation that passed this session was the tax cuts (HB 163). Unfortunately, the Social Security tax was not completely eliminated, but it will no longer apply to a vast majority of taxpayers. As a bonus, military pensioners received a break on their pensions for at least the next 5 years.

Read more ...

Green Gas Tax Fails to Pass in a Middle of the Night Vote

Estimates Put The Cost of Bill at .35 Cents Per Gallon

Albuquerque – Power The Future Communications Director Larry Behrens issued the following statement after the Legislature failed to pass Governor Lujan Grisham's Green Gas Tax increase in a vote held in the middle of the night:

"The fact that supporters tried to sneak this green gas tax across the finish line in the middle of the night tells you all you ought to know. Thankfully, bipartisan opposition defeated the Governor's green gas tax and in doing so sent a strong message to politicians who try to put the green agenda ahead of our working families.

It's not enough that decisions out of Washington have delivered the highest inflation in 40-years, but now the Governor and her supporters tried to make a bad situation much worse. If New Mexicans ever needed definitive proof that some Santa Fe politicians care more about campaign cash than their constituents, this bill was it."

Read more ...

Middle Class Wins with Senate Social Security Tax Compromise

By Fred Nathan, Executive Director, Think New Mexico

The compromise reached by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Senate Democrats to remove the tax on Social Security income for all lower- and middle-income seniors – with incomes up to $100,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples – represents a reasonable compromise among proponents and opponents of a full repeal.

The state's tax on Social Security has been in effect since 1990, when the legislature passed a complex tax bill that buried the provision on a single line on the second to last page. Beginning at least as early as 1997, legislators from both parties have been introducing legislation to repeal the tax on Social Security.

In 2019, Think New Mexico advocated for a full repeal in our report, "Solving the Hidden Crisis: Achieving Retirement Security for all New Mexicans," which was prompted by a 2018 UNM study that found that two out of every three private sectors workers in New Mexico have no money saved for retirement.

Read more ...

corrected: Biden's Energy Failure Delivers 40-Year High Inflation

Washington, D.C. – Following this morning's breaking news that the inflation rate reached 7.5% in January 2022, the highest in four decades, Power The Future released the following statement on the staggering price tag of the Biden Administration's surrender of energy independence:

"With inflation soaring ever higher, the time is now to increase energy supply, and not from foreign adversaries who wish us harm, but from all the domestic sources that helped America achieve energy independence," said Daniel Turner, Founder and Executive Director for Power The Future. "Sadly, the policies of the Biden Administration have served as a proverbial boot on the throat of our energy industry. It's no coincidence that while oil and gas reserves are at their lowest, inflation is at its highest. Five dollar a gallon for gas is on our horizon, and many middle-class families are stretching to pay drastically higher heating bills. The clueless response from President Biden aren't working: begging OPEC to increase foreign output while doing everything in his power to shackle proud American producers who could offer much-needed relief."

Power The Future is a 501c4 non-profit dedicated to fighting for American energy workers.

Regulators Scramble Over New Mexico's Man-Made Energy Problems

Albuquerque – Power The Future Communications Director Larry Behrens issued the following statement after today’s meeting of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to discuss the threat of power outages this summer:

“Blackouts are a real threat this summer and this man-made energy problem was 100 percent avoidable, but leaders in Santa Fe decided to sacrifice affordable and reliable power. The solution is simple: Let the hardworking men and women of New Mexico produce our energy indefinitely. Those who caused this problem must stop deflecting the blame on supply-chain issues. After all, it was their decision to sacrifice local energy sources in favor of unreliable materials produced on the other side of the world.”

The Big Fish that NM let get away

The New Mexico legislature is once again considering modifying statutory interest rate caps on loans that are not secured by real estate. Many may not know that 41 years ago our legislature passed laws eliminating all caps on loans that were not secured by real estate in an attempt to reel in a big fish. This is that story.

The U.S. experienced very high inflation from 1979 through 1981. In each of those years, annual inflation was over 10%. Credit card companies couldn't make any money because state laws limited the interest rate that could be charged on credit card debt. New Mexico had a fairly typical usury statute (NMSA 56-8-11(1978)) which limited interest rates on unsecured loans to 12% and 10% on loans secured by personal property, such as a car loan.

Credit card companies began to lobby state legislatures around the country with the carrot that if a state would drop its interest rate cap for credit card loans, that the company would give serious consideration to setting up a national credit card HQ in that state. Two of the first states to bite were New Mexico and South Dakota. On July 1, 1981, the New Mexico legislature repealed NMSA 56-8-1l and replaced it with statutes that removed all interest rate caps on credit card loans (NMSA 56-8-11.1 to 56-8-11.3 (1978)).

Read more ...

Biden's Latest Nord Stream 2 Pledge Further Undermines American Strength

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Biden threatened to "bring an end" to Putin's Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. This policy flip-flop comes less than a month after the Biden Administration demanded members of the Senate vote against sanctions on the pipeline and less than a year after President Biden lifted sanctions allowing the pipeline to move forward.

"It is pathetic that it took an imminent threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine for President Biden to finally admit what has been clear all along: Nord Stream 2 never should have been allowed to move forward," said Daniel Turner, Founder and Exectuive Director of Power The Future. "When America projects weakness, our foes take notice. Let this record setting flip-flop be a reminder of the cost of surrendering American energy independence: when a nation relies on others to power its economy, it weakens itself domestically and in global affairs."

Power The Future is a 501c4 non-profit dedicated to fighting for American energy workers.

Exempting all SS Income from Tax Won't Help Seniors Who Need it Most

By Fred Harris, Board member, NM Voices for Children, former U.S. Senator

Social Security has done a remarkable job keeping the vast majority of seniors out of poverty. Those seniors who still live in poverty should receive more help from the federal and state governments. But exempting all Social Security income from taxation won't deliver one penny of help to our low-income seniors. What it will mean is the state will have less money to support the programs and services that matter most to our communities.

Most seniors earning low incomes – and even many earning middle incomes – are already exempt from paying income tax on their Social Security benefits. The vast majority of the benefit from this proposed tax cut would go to seniors earning $50,000 and up, more than the state's median income. More than half of the benefit would go to those in the top 20% of the income ladder. And even for those at the very top, the portion of their Social Security benefit that they already paid taxes on while they worked is exempt from this tax.

Read more ...

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at https://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions. They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to editor@grantcountybeat.com and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to editor@grantcountybeat.com. Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.