Gov. Martinez has entirely invented a budget crisis and constructed a fiction of the Senate having wasted two months doing nothing. This post unmasks these lies and points to the common GOP strategy of fake facts and lies. Also included is an absolutely amazing opportunity next Tuesday. Whatever you had planned for Tuesday, cancel.
After the discussion below concerning our Governor’s entirely unnecessary State budget crisis, you will find a couple of personal pleas, followed by an invitation to a simply extraordinary, entirely free day of learning about our land, our culture, our history, and our climate that occurs on Tuesday. But first, the quagmire created by Susana.
Among other nonsense, the Governor’s spokesman, Michael Lonergan, stated that: “She’s going to call a special session soon because the do-nothing Senate wasted 60 days debating things like holiday songs instead of a balanced budget that doesn’t raise taxes on our families.” There is so much wrong with this statement it warrants dissection.
The do-nothing Senate: The Senate actually passed 208 bills during the session, 50% more than the House, which passed 138. Not exactly doing nothing. Martinez, on the other hand, has signed only 11 into law and vetoed 14, leaving over 100 bills sitting without action. So, in truth, who is the one doing nothing?
Debating things like holiday songs. Yes, in a moment of fun, the Senate advanced a bill related to the holidays, but it had just one hearing and was never brought to the floor. This hardly represents a significant distraction from getting important work done. But if you want an example of a time drain that has and likely will again require time and effort distracting from developing a viable budget, take a look at the Governor’s insistence upon introducing bills related to the death penalty and expanding the three strikes law, bills she new were 100% dead on arrival, had zero chance of passing either chamber, and simply wasted valuable time….and word is that she has a similar plan for the looming special session.
Instead of a balanced budget. Senate Republican leader Stuart Ingle of Portales reacted to the Governor’s attacks by stating: “This session legislators worked diligently and made tough decisions to create and pass a balanced budget which keeps spending levels largely flat.” He went on to state that “Legislators met their Constitutional duty and sent the $6.1 billion balanced budget to the governor on the day before the session ended…. When the State Treasurer says the state cannot issue any more checks, difficult decisions have to be made, we stood up and we made them.” This is from a leader from the Governor’s own party.
A Budget Crisis. Now Gov. Martinez is threatening to shut down what she deems non-vital services, and apparently soon. She has identified museums, motor vehicle departments, and even K-12 education as targets for shut downs. Never mind that the State has an existing surplus through June 30, 2017. She is threatening these shut-downs as a strategy to create the illusion of an imminent crisis. And with spring looming and tourists beginning to descend, shutting down museums is not exactly smart. And, it is a curious strategy indeed for a Governor so interested in the education of our children to threaten shutting down schools as a means of bludgeoning the Roundhouse into accepting still more draconian cuts to education.
The Governor’s preferred approach to balancing the budget would be to preserve all the tax shelters enjoyed by the wealthy and the giveaways to her corporate funders and instead turn to teachers and others serving the public interest and invade their retirement accounts, invade school district reserves, and make further cuts in vital education, health, and social service systems.
I am going to be honest: I am getting beyond fed up with the lack of integrity that is replete throughout BOTH our political parties. At the state and national levels, our civic dialog is predicated on carefully manufactured lies and threats from the powerful with one underlying theme: greed. We need to address this first at home and then at a national level and so….transition to Plea # 1.
Plea # 1 — Vote for Roxanne & Paul. If you are a Santa Fe County Democratic Central Committee member, please come to the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, on Sat., Mar 25, to vote for Roxanne Barber and Paul Gibson to serve on the Democratic State Central Committee. (Registration begins at 9:30, meeting at 10:30 am) If elected we pledge to:
- Ceaselessly advocate for a more open, inclusive, and small ‘d’ democratic state party;
- Oust tired leadership that supports the current DNC and its moneyed interests;
- Encourage the revitalization of the ward, county, and state Party infrastructure;
- Explore how the Democratic Party can engage in ongoing social justice actions. What is the point to this Party if it isn’t actively engaged in environmental & social justice actions?
- Force the Party to take a Progressive stand on healthcare, minimum wage, renewable energy transition, progressive tax and revenue policies, and other policies important to the 99%. No more support for ‘safe’ Democrats who do not support Progressive Change.
Frankly, we are fed up with the Democratic Party at national and state levels. They appear to have learned absolutely nothing from the 2016 election and continue to peddle neo-liberalism and steer clear of any commitment to progressive values. Saturday’s post will focus on the Democratic Party’s refusal to acknowledge the limitations of the ACA and the viability of a Single Payer Health Plan. We will also reveal a possible 3rd party candidate who could take on Trump…and win with Single Payer as the centerpiece of his platform. Spoiler alert: we are not talking about Bernie Sanders. I am not suggesting that this 3rd party run makes sense, but at some point, the Democratic Party needs to sever its ties from Wall St. and start paying attention to Main St. or it will wither into irrelevance. Roxanne and I plan on being very loud, very persistent, and very inconvenient voices for revitalizing the Party and refocusing its priorities. So if you are a County Central Committee member, please vote for Roxanne and I, and if you know others who may be CCC members, forward this note to them. I promise, we will not betray your trust. We have been working very hard for a very long time and we won’t let you down.
The Best Tip from Retake in Weeks — The Tremendous, Free Learning Opportunity: the Society for Applied Anthropology is holding their Annual Meeting next week here in Santa Fe. Titled “Trails, Traditions, and New Directions,” the conference offers an amazing series of panels, films, and discussions. Best of all, opening day, Tuesday, March 28, is “Santa Fe/New Mexico Day,” and completely free to everyone! From 8am until 9:30 pm, there is an extraordinary array of topics covered in 90 to 120 segments. You will have an impossible time choosing, because after the opening session you will be faced with these kinds of choices:
- 10-11:50am: Chaco Heritage: Contemporary Native Artists Explore Ancient Traditions, OR The Moral Ecologies of Water in NM, OR Just Environmental & Climate Pathways–A Knowledge Exchange among Community Organizers, Scholar-Activists, Citizen Scientists & Artists, OR Exploring Paths to Resilient and Sustainable Coastal Social-Ecological Systems Under Uncertain Future Scenarios. WOW and that is only half of the options.
- 12-1:20pm: Cultural Preservation of NM, OR Native American Seedsaving, OR Teaching & Learning Participatory Action Research in Native American Studies, OR Anthropologists Collaborate with New Mexican Health Professionals: New Directions, Challenges, Successes,. OR Crucial Conversations: Sanctuary vs. Sanctions.
- 1:30-3pm: Facilitating Learning Across Cultures, OR Witnessing the Migration Crisis Across Borders, OR Food Systems and the Marine Environment in Local and Regional Food Systems of North America, OR Food in NM: Community Food Projects and Food Hubs. Examining Local Projects to Build Food Justice.
- 3:30-5:20pm: Land, Preservation, and Continuity: Native American Trajectories, OR A Changing Climate How will the Southwest Survive (do I really have to pick between these two?), OR Writing the Southwest: A conversation with Anne Hillerman, Narario Garcia, and Michael McGarrity, OR Trails of Empire: Applied Science and Imperial Formations in the Southwest.