Bottom line: Unless we tax the rich and corporations at rates that make sense, nothing will change. Unless we stop the hundreds of billions going for "wars" and "security," nothing will change. Unless we stop importing slave labor goods and making more damaging "free" trade deals, nothing will change. Unless we stop cutting education, health care and other government services, nothing will change. The rest is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The rest is all sound and fury signifying nothing.
As MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben said, "I think a lot of progressives have been watching with growing horror. Republicans so dominate the debate over the economy that it's become a discussion of whether we should have massive cuts to vital services and massive layoffs or not so massive cuts and layoffs. And people are saying, 'where is the common sense?' This isn't the time to cut the services that people depend on and that create jobs. We need more of that. We're seeing huge tax breaks go to top 2% of Americans, and then the resulting worsening fiscal situation being used to justify draconian cuts. It's just too much."
Here in New Mexico, lawmakers have refused for three straight sessions to rescind the tax breaks for our top-tier earners that were put into place in 2003, when the economy was booming. This would mean raising the rate at the top from the current 4.9% to 8.2%, which had stood for years. Even if lawmakers made the richest New Mexicans pay 1-2% more, it would go a long way towards plugging our budget gap Instead, they've raised gross receipts taxes on everyone, unsuccessfully pushed what became known as the "tortilla tax" on foods, applied an increased "sin tax" on smokers and made more than $900 million in cuts to education and other government operations. Who is this serving?
Our legislators have lowered the pay of teachers and other state workers by necessitating furlough days and demanding higher employee payments into retirement funds that were doing just fine until the crooked investment and mortgage scams devised by big players on Wall Street and in banking drained pension funds across the nation. They cut off money for needed projects all over the state, putting construction workers, architects and others out of work. They even cut unemployment benefits at a time when they're needed most.
New Mexico's legislators have also left in place a 50% cut to the capital gains tax implemented in 2003, again favoring the wealthy over ordinary workers. Our budget problems would pretty much be over if our top tax rates and capital gains tax were returned to pre-2003 levels. As it stands, folks who make $16,000 a year are paying the same tax rate as those making millions. Is that fair?
And how about the fact that a list of hugely profitable out-of-state corporations that operate in New Mexico pay no taxes on their profits here? This, while our small businesses, which every politico claims to support, do pay those taxes. What a competitive advantage for the big corporations! I guess that's what happens when these corporations constantly pony up campaign "contributions" and employ an army of lobbyists to wine and dine our decision-makers.
Remember, for two of the last three years Democrats were in the majority in both the NM House and Senate, and a Democratic governor was at the helm. This year, we've still got a House and Senate run by alleged Democrats, even though we have a right-wing Republican governor. And yet, the Legislative Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee came up with a budget that depends entirely on more cuts and doesn't have a single proposal for raising more funds from those who have benefited most from lopsided economic conditions that have almost unbelievably benefited the top tier. Think about it -- from the time the tax cuts were enacted through 2009, about $1 billion in revenues that could have been used to avoid cuts were instead removed from our tax coffers.
We've all heard the lame excuses from Dem lawmakers -- oh we can't raise additional revenues because Big Bad Susana says she'll veto any budget that has them. So let her! Instead of standing up to the misguided right-wingers in the legislature (some in our own party) and the right-wing ideologue at the top of the food chain, we get a mindset of compromise, compromise, compromise.
We need our Dem leaders and officeholders to get up in the faces of those who work against the people's interests -- and to speak out strongly and repeatedly on TV, radio and in the newspapers to fight for a truly Democratic solution to our budget problems. At this incredibly potent moment in history, we need fighters not appeasers, courage not caving, leaders and public officials with gumption -- ready, willing and able to make the bold moves necessary to preserve our way of life.
Almost nobody's out there engaging the public, offering persuasive arguments for stopping the cuts and backing it all up with the facts. Isn't it about time we all asked loudly, why the hell not?
See all the video clips from Saturday's rally.
New Mexico's highest court ruled on Thursday that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry.
"We conclude that the purpose of New Mexico marriage laws is to bring stability and order to the legal relationship of committed couples by defining their rights and responsibilities as to one another, their children if they choose to raise children together, and their property," the court's ruling read. "Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the government interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified."
Daniel Strauss | Talking Points Memo 19 Dec 2013 Hits:413 New Mexico
Anti-abortion rights activists have presented a petition to the Albuquerque, New Mexico city council asking it to put a 20-week abortion ban to a citywide vote this fall. The proposal mirrors Texas’ 20-week abortion ban, which Gov. Rick Perry signed into law earlier this month and would effectively ban abortion after 20 weeks in New Mexico, as Albuquerque is the only city in the state where abortions are performed at or after that time.
Last week, a group calling itself Project Defending Life submitted nearly 27,000 signatures to the city council, which needs...
Andrea Grimes | RH Reality Check 29 Jul 2013 Hits:685 New Mexico
The economic viability of solar power is advancing rapidly. It’s actually already more then competitive within certain markets, and the price of solar panels saw a precipitous decline over the last four years.
In fact, solar technology has been advancing so rapidly that analysts have had trouble keeping their models up to date. When the Electric Reliability Council of Texas revised the circa-2006 assumptions about the state of technological development in its economic models, it found massive increases in the economic viability of wind and solar power, making...
Jeff Spross | Think Progress - Climate 04 Feb 2013 Hits:578 New Mexico
As of Wednesday, New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is considering a positive new amendment to its child-care assistance policy, which would exempt survivors of rape and incest from filing child-support claims against absent parents. Current policy dictates that all parents, if they want to receive state funds for child care, must file child-support claims against the other parent.
The amendment initially sparked outrage when it became known that the exemption would cover victims of “forcible rape” and incest. This would mean that anyone whose rape...
Rachel Kassenbrock | Ms Blog 22 Sep 2012 Hits:868 New Mexico
We're happy to report on our great trip to New Mexico. We held events with our state leadership and PDA-endorsed candidate Eric Griego. This is final crunch time. Please sign up with Mike Fox to make Get Out The Vote calls for Eric.
Update: PDA National Field Director, Conor Boylan and members of our Arizona and New Mexico leadership teams will be back in the district this weekend for a final Get Out the Vote push. We need your support to make this trip a major success! Please contribute whatever you...
Tim Carpenter and Conor Boylan | PDA 01 Jun 2012 Hits:686 New Mexico
On February 17, as I was stepping out the door for an exhibition opening of my arctic photographs and to participate in an environmental panel at Fordham University with former New York State assistant attorney general Robert Emmet Hernan, I received an email news update from Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, a Santa Fe, New Mexico based NGO that began with these words, “We have reason to celebrate with the ‘abandonment’ of the proposed Nuclear Facility as part of the Chemistry & Metallurgy Research...
Subhankar Banerjee | Climate Storytellers 23 Feb 2012 Hits:805 New Mexico
Today, Eric Griego for Congress (NM-1) announced that Griego will be the first candidate for federal office in the U.S. to sign the “99 Pledge” started by the Occupy/99% Movement. The Occupy Santa Fe organizers will present the pledge to Griego to sign at the “Occupy the Roundhouse” rally tomorrow in Santa Fe, NM in front of the State Capitol Building at 10:30 AM.
Started by Occupy Santa Fe, and to be launched nationally on Wednesday, January 18th, the “99 Pledge” states:
“The Pledge for a Democratic...
Eric Griego for Congress 17 Jan 2012 Hits:767 New Mexico
As winter arrives, the local Occupy movement finds itself made up of two separate, and not always harmonious, groups of people: • Those who meet to develop strategies for Saturday actions and raise money, then go home to sleep in their own beds in Santa Fe. • Those who have come from elsewhere to keep the camp in Railyard Park running smoothly with skills honed at Rainbow Family gatherings. Of two dozen people at Wednesday's Occupy general assembly, only one was from...
Tom Sharpe | Santa Fe New Mexican 07 Nov 2011 Hits:405 New Mexico
The 99 percent movement that’s swept the country has reached Albuquerque, New Mexico. But organizers there have decided to alter the “Occupy” name.
They are doing this out of respect for area’s indigenous communities, which have been forcibly occupied by the United States for centuries.
Instead, organizers are calling their protests “(Un)occupy Albuquerque” to connect corporate greed with the ongoing fight for indigenous land rights.
A sit-in participant in Albuquerque calling himself evergreen2 wrote a story on the DailyKos.com explaining how the term “Occupy” is not problematic terminology...
Jorge Rivas, Colorlines.com | Report 23 Oct 2011 Hits:453 New Mexico
About two hundred protesters marched on Central Avenue near UNM this afternoon to demonstrate against corporate greed.
It wasn't Wall Street, and Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon didn't show up, but the event tied in and harmonized with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have filled New York City the past two weeks.
Albuquerque police blocked traffic while marchers chanted "Whose street - our street,” as they abandoned sidewalks and walked Central Avenue alongside traffic.
"I expected it to be, like we were gonna occupy the bank, but...
Stuart Dyson | KOB News 01 Oct 2011 Hits:424 New Mexico
Here in New Mexico, about a thousand energized people gathered at the Roundhouse to urge state and federal lawmakers to Save the American Dream by supporting unions, working families and the middle class. Participants pushed for making the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, realigning spending priorities from wars and rocketing "defense" spending to education and health care and stopping right-wing politicos from blaming workers for the national and international economic mess created by scams perpetrated by Wall Street, banking and corporate elites.
Bottom line: Unless we tax...
Democracy for New Mexico 28 Feb 2011 Hits:458 New Mexico
New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced his retirement today, a move that further complicates his party's efforts to hold their Senate majority in 2012.
"The end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside and allow someone else to serve," Bingaman said at an Albuquerque news conference. "It is not easy to get elected to the Senate, and it is not easy to decide to leave the Senate."
Bingaman had been mulling whether to run for a sixth term for months and, if...
Chris Cillizza | Washington Post 19 Feb 2011 Hits:515 New Mexico
Please think how proposed $405 Million cuts to Community Block Grants will render poor rural communities helpless in building and maintaining crucial infrastructure projects like community water and sewer systems and streets. It is precious little funding that keeps our rural poor communities from being 3rd World Communities. E-Coli in an untreated water supply can sicken and even kill the most vulnerable, young and old in our society.
Every construction dollar devoted to infrastructure development translates and...
Margarita Mercure Hibbs | The Rural Progressive 14 Feb 2011 Hits:507 New Mexico
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Meet Robert Dawkins, Democracy North Carolina
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
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Want to bring progressive change to New Mexico? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.
Legislators Who Have Cut Ties with ALECSen. George Muñoz (D-Cibola & McKinley) - Muñoz announced April 20, 2012 that he was ending his relationship with ALEC.