Yesterday’s Action Alert demonstrated the critical importance of immediate, actionable information and of you sharing. Today, we return to the food tax, something Senator Wirth surprisingly described as not being “off the table.” Retake considers a Food Tax off the table. Also video of Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi & Schumer responding to Trump. What a contrast.
After a few announcements, today’s post includes a story from the ABQ Journal about the resurrection of the heinous Food Tax. At the bottom of the post is an interesting contrast in political leadership, the post Trump speech response from Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer and then the interview with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on MSNBC.
Yesterday’s Action Alert. Yesterday we sent out an alert after hearing that Sen Udall’s office had received three times as many calls in support of the Wall as opposing it. I was dumbfounded. How is that possible? Here? But I called the Senator’s office and found that on Wednesday Udall had received a deluge of calls in support of the Wall and that their office would be making a count of the calls through the end of the day Friday.
I sent out an Action Alert and put it on the SF Bulletin Board and boy did you take action! From the astronomical open rate, the second highest in over two years, clearly Action Alerts can galvanize a community. It turns out that Udall may have been targeted by some kind of funded campaign from outside NM. In speaking with their office on Friday,normalcy had returned to NM, as they had received a huge amount of anti-wall calls. So good job.
This points to the critical importance of being engaged and attentive. This blog will keep you posted on many things, but if you want to be on top of what is going on at the Roundhouse and bills that will be considered, bills that can shape NM’s future, you need to sign up for our Statewide Rapid Response Network.After you JOIN, share it with others. As today’s comments on the possible resurrection of the Food Tax reveals, important bills can slip through the cracks if we aren’t vigilant. Our Response Network Alert system will get you timely information about bills along with the information you need to take timely, informed action. So please sign up today and share.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR,101.1 FM, 8:30am Saturdays! On Jan 5, our guest was Heather Ferguson from Common Cause, NM. On Jan 12, Paul will do a solo show previewing Retake Our Democracy’s legislative priorities and our Rapid Response Network. Through March, the Show will focus almost exclusively on Roundhouse. And from the middle of November to the present, shows have also focused on the Roundhouse with interviews wtih representatives from Common Cause, New Mexico Health Security, Sierra Club, NM to Prevent Gun Violence and several elected members of the Roundhouse. You can listen to podcasts of previous shows at KSFR.org. Go to the programs menu, scroll to podcasts and then scroll down to Retake Our Democracy. Lot’s of great guests of late, all focused on the Roundhouse. Check it out.
Volunteer Needed for KSFR and Retake Our Democracy radio show. KSFR has agreed to allow me to tape all of the Retake radio shows from the Roundhouse on Friday afternoons and to have a highly professional microphone set and tape recorder to use periodically during the week to interview elected officials, leadership from our allies (Common Cause, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, etc.) and from volunteer advocates from around the state. This show would then air the following day, Saturday at 8:30am. So the show would be timely, relevant and full of people you don’t normally hear from in action at the Roundhouse. Here is the catch. KSFR is located on the Santa Fe Community College campus and I will be at the RH most days all day. It is very hard to predict what will be going on at the RH on any Friday and it may be impossible for me to break away for 40 minutes to drive to fetch the equipment, especially when you consider parking issues. If there were a volunteer who could pick up the equipment on Thursday afternoon and return it on Monday, I could record the show every week, create a podcast and on Mondays circulate that podcast to supporters statewide. Anyone game? This could be a remarkable recruitment tool. Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fingers crossed.
TODAY, Saturday, January 12, 2 to 4 pm,”National Popular Vote Public Forum,” three days before New Mexico’s 2019 legislative session opens. Hosted by the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County.This last National Popular Vote forum in Santa Fe will include a legislative focus and build on the forum of November 10, though previous participation is not necessary. Unitarian Universalist Church, Santa Fe, 117 W. Barcelona Road.
Wednesday, January 16, plus five days throughout the Roundhouse Session. “National Popular Vote-New Mexico” table directly inside the New Mexico State Capitol Roundhouse’s Halls of History on the ground floor. The table on January 16 and five additional days throughout the legislative period will allow New Mexico’s National Popular Vote supporters, including you, to have a physical space to meet, compare information, strategize, and hold “Lobby Days” and “Petition Deliveries.” January 16, January 22, February 21, February 26, March 5, and March 6.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Northern New Mexico Women’s March. Demonstrators will meet at the state Capitol and march to the Santa Fe Plaza for a rally. For more information check out this morning’s Santa Fe New Mexican report.
An Urgent Need for Tax Reform.In New Mexico
There are good ways to reform New Mexico’s horribly regressive tax code. And there is Sen. Carlos Cisneros’ way. While his bill hasn’t been filed as yet, the bill is reported to include some good things, like adding a new tax bracket for high income New Mexicans and lowering the GRT statewide. But it also resurrects the Food Tax. The chart at left illustrates the kinds of decisions low-income, working families must make each month when food is scarce. Additional taxes on food is obviously not going to help these people.This should be an absolute non-starter, dead in the water, no way proposal. But perhaps not.
Many GOP legislators and some Democratic Senators like J.A. Smith and Clemente Sanchez have voiced interest. Meanwhile, Senate Floor Leader Peter Wirth said he has asked senators not to draw a line in the sand before studying the various tax proposals. In response to a question about the Food Tax, Sen. Wirth stated: “It just gets hard to govern when you take things off the table,” he told the ABQ Journal. With all due respect for Senator Wirth, the Food Tax does not belong on the table.
I thought about asking you to write and call to Senator Wirth, but frankly I think his statement is just political posturing to show he has an open mind. I suspect that the Food Tax will go nowhere. From the ABQ Journal: “The New Mexico Municipal League, which represents cities and towns statewide, has advocated for at least a partial reinstatement of the tax on groceries, but other organizations have staunchly opposed such a proposal.” Other organizations oppose the tax including many of our allies: Somos Un Pueblo Unido, NM Voices for Children, the MM Center on Law and Poverty to name a few. So, for now I am confident we can hold off on contacting Senator Wirth.
Fortunately, there are more serious tax proposals beginning to surface. The Journal reported: “Rep. Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, chairman of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee, said his legislation, not yet filed, could help pay for increased teacher salaries in future years, as most of the state’s current revenue uptick is due to a recent boom in the historically volatile oil industry. He said his bill would lower the gross receipts tax base rate by nearly 1 percentage point, repeal roughly 20 existing tax breaks, add a new personal income tax bracket for high-income New Mexicans and allow the state – along with cities and counties – to collect taxes on internet sales.”
I know that NM Voices for children has a raft of bills on tax reform, some of which have been introduced and with more to come. These will mirror more of what is contained in Rep. Trujillo’s bill. We will be tracking all of these bills and if you want to keep informed and
Pelosi, Schumer and Ocasio Cortez, A Stark Contrast in Leadership Styles
I recommend that you review the two video’s below. The first is the official Democratic Response to Trump’s lie-laced appeal to the nation trying to convince us that there was a national emergency threatening us and not a political emergency facing him. Democratic Party leadership had an opportunity to provide a stark contrast in rhetoric, style and perspective. I am guessing you realize that the contrast in styles represented in these two video will be stark. It is beyond stark. Pelosi and Schumer look almost deathlike in their robotic and very obviously scripted and read verbatim commentary. Ocasio Cortez, on the other hand speaks without notes, from the heart and I am guessing will reach and move many more viewers than Pelosi-Schumer.
The contrast points to the need for the Party to turn a page and look to its younger members as leaders. Ocasio Cortez is not even 30 years old, has been an elected member of Congress just over a week and so it is not realistic to consider the official spokesperson of the Party. But there has to be more inspiring Democrats to serve as a contrast to Trump. Look for the Tuesday blog for more on this topic, as Democratic Party leadership has clearly been distancing itself from Ocasio-Cortez and the Tuesday blog will have surprising commentary on this. But for today, check out the commentary.
Paul & Roxanne