Posts Tagged ‘Spaceport America’

Richardson Approval Numbers in Free Fall

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The Teflon Governor is Teflon no more.

We’re going to have our New Mexico poll results out starting tomorrow- perhaps the most interesting thing we found is that Bill Richardson has become one of the least popular Governors in the country, with 63% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 28% approving. He’s even in negative territory among Democrats at a 42/47 spread.

I’ve always been amazed by Governor Bill Richardson’s early popularity. Despite the rhetoric, the “successes” of this Administration have been nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on for days, but you can just hit the appropriate label button below and read it all without me repeating it.

So, what does this all mean for the Democratic hopefuls during this upcoming election year.  Well, right now it looks like Richardson Administration #2, Lt. Governor Diane Denish, is still polling out ahead… barely:

Where New Mexico departs from its regional counterparts is that it still looks favored to vote Democratic in its most significant statewide race this year. Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish leads her top Republican opponent, Pete Domenici Jr., by a 45-40 margin and has leads of 14-18 points over the rest of the GOP field.

Denish is by far the best known of the candidates running, with 41% of voters in the state holding a positive opinion of her to just 34% who see her negatively.

 Keep in mind, the Lt. Governor has been campaigning for this position for going on two years. So, I don’t know that those  numbers are anything to celebrate about – especially, considering Pete Domenici Jr. just got in the race a couple of weeks ago.

It’s going to be very hard for the Lt. Governor to start disengaging herself from the Governor after Denish has been so silent for so long. Only 34% of the voters see her negatively right now, but let’s be realistic.  She has operated in the shadow of Governor for the last eight years. His failed policies are bringing him down very quickly.  It’s not going to be very long before that same problem is encountered by Richardson’s #2. This is particularly true when we consider that the Governor spent so much time out of state during his Presidential dream chasing, that the state was actually being run by Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

Governor Richardson’s Priorities

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Governor Bill Richardson called the legislators into a special legislative session and according to an article by Winthrop Quigley And Jeff Jones our State Senators were less than pleased with the Governor for doing so (subscription):

State senators on Sunday panned a $58 million-a-year children’s health coverage plan by Gov. Bill Richardson, while blasting the governor himself for calling them into a special legislative session.

Angry senators said the session is unnecessary, will accomplish little and was called only to serve Richardson’s national political ambitions.

“I really have no earthly idea why we are in this building except to serve the political purposes of this governor,” Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, said during a hearing on Richardson’s proposal to provide universal children’s health coverage — a bill the Senate, acting as a committee of the whole, later voted to table.

Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque, said a legislative staff analysis of the bill amounts to “a list of reasons not to do this.” And he said it was introduced to give Richardson, who is discussed as a possible Democratic vice-presidential nominee, a “headline” for his speech later this month to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

The bill is “about self-glorification of a man who is moving on,” Cravens said.

Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia said later, “Governor Richardson is not concerned about personal attacks made by a couple members of the Senate. Rather his focus, as it always has been, is on getting meaningful legislation passed to give 50,000 uninsured children access to health care and provide relief to working families who are struggling because of high gas prices.”

Ok, let’s just skip straight to the meat of this issue. Richardson’s spokeswoman would have us believe that this session is about the importance of providing 50,000 uninsured children access to health care. The problem with this argument is that Govenor Richardson has been in office since 2002. That means that he has had at least six regular sessions to allocate $58 million for uninsured kids. However, he had more important priorities, for example:

  1. Richardson chose to give billionaire Richard Branson a $100 million gift that just keeps on giving, rather than providing 50,000 uninsured children with access to health care.

  2. Spending over $400 million and counting for a train that serves a very small percentage of the overall state population.
  3. Increasing annual spending by over $2 billion – including an 11% increase in one year alone – without ever giving a second thought to 50,000 children.
  4. Even fish farms have ranked higher than the 50,000 uninsured children.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Oh, and lest you think I’m just just conveniently neglecting to give the Govenor credit for the other “purpose” of this special session – “ provide relief to working families who are struggling because of high gas prices” – it’s important to remember that both the Governor’s spaceport and train require an increase in gross receipts taxes in order to operate long term.

In other words, both of these pet projects require a regressive tax, which takes far more from the working poor than the Governor is offering to give back.

Bill Richardson’s Legacy Begins

Monday, April 21st, 2008

We are already beginning to feel the effects of Governor Bill Richardson’s legacy of spending, spending and then spending a little more:

Gov. Bill Richardson has been a strong advocate of the spaceport.

“The governor is very hopeful the vote will be successful and the project will move forward,” said Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for Richardson. “The reality is the state has put in a lot of actual capital and committed a lot of time and energy to the project.”

The tax would add a 25-cent charge to a $100 purchase. State lawmakers also have earmarked at least $110 million in capital outlay money over several years to help with startup costs.

In recent weeks, spaceport director Steve Landeene and other officials have worked to educate voters on what they see as the project’s merits.

So, let’s see, the Governor is apparently two for two. The new train requires new gross receipts taxes to support it. The new spaceport requires new gross receipts taxes to support it. I wonder what else the Governor has pushed through the legislature that will require new gross receipts taxes to support it.

Where’s the outcry from all you people who support buying local? I’ve got to tell you if gross receipts keep going up, you’re going to find more and more people making their purchases tax free online. The burden of these regressive spend and tax policies are on the poorest amongst us. How come the advocates for the poor are not crying out? I don’t get it.

It’s North Against the South

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

No, I’m not talking about the Wilson versus Pearce match up to win the GOP primary for Senator Domenici’s seat. What I am talking about is the little train versus space funding fight (subscription) that is sure to dominate discussions during this upcoming legislative session:

“The train is nothing but a local issue, and it helps two of the wealthiest counties. Why is the rest of the state subsidizing them?” asked Rawson, who added that the spaceport “absolutely is a statewide project.”

Hmm… You know, the man has point. I don’t think that anyone in their right mind could argue that a train that only goes from Los Lunas to Santa Fe (eventually) could be a seen as benefiting the whole state. After all, we’re only talking about a VERY small number of riders in just four of New Mexico’s thirty-three counties. Yup, any sane and rationale person would have to deduct that this is a local issue…

But the southern New Mexico lawmakers will confront powerful opposition, including from House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe.

Lujan has the opposite take on the matter. He said Thursday that it is appropriate to ask local voters to share a portion of the financial burden for the spaceport because it will affect mainly that region.

“The Rail Runner benefits the whole state,” Lujan said.

So, much for sane and rationale leaders in New Mexico politics. Speaker Lujan’s comments are sure to leave more than a few people just a little bit confused. After all, Speaker Lujan is saying that Spaceport America is a local issue, but I could of sworn when we were sold this bill of goods by one Presidential candidate it was a very different story:

In announcing the partnership, [Governor Bill] Richardson emphasized that New Mexico wants to be on the ground floor of public space travel. He said that today’s announcement will “change the face of the state and change the face of the world.”

Well, that doesn’t sound like a regional issue, does it? But, wait it gets better. Speaker Lujan’s money quote of the week:

[House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe] added that requiring local support in the form of local tax revenue for the spaceport was necessary to pass the legislation in 2006.

“When you make a deal, you need to stick to it,” Lujan said.

As I recall, the original deal for Governor’s train project promised it wouldn’t take away from road funding. I guess what’s true for the goose is not true for the gander.

The Much Sought After Billionaire Vote

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

It’s a pretty rare occasion that I can find anything on SWOP blogger worth linking to, but I have to admit, this SWOP post did give me a chuckle:

That’s where in steps Bill Richardson with a tax increase [to support the Spaceport], not to the billionaires who don’t even live in NM, but to Doña Ana County Residents. They had to flip the bill.

Now let’s visit today’s paper. Front Page news “Governor won’t back rail tax.” This tax would be for the expansion of the RAIL RUNNER which means PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION for NM residents that we so desperately need. I would GLADLY pay that tax.

I ask you Mr. Governor Richardson: Where are your priorities? Are you trying to appeal to the billionaire vote? The republican “no taxes, smaller government” party? Or the NM families that need a public transportation system that will get them to and from their jobs in an affordable way?

Well SWOP, let me assure you that its too late for Governor Richardson to appeal to the “no taxes, smaller government” folks. He blew that when he grew the state budget by nearly $2 billion over the last couple of years. The tone of your post suggests he has done himself any favors with the public transportation enthusiasts. So, I guess the answer to your questions is that Governor Richardson is in fact trying to appeal to the billionaire vote.

Ouch. Good thing he is term limited as Governor, I don’t think there are enough billionaires in New Mexico to help him carry the next election.

Already a Drain on the Budget

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

It sure didn’t take long for Spaceport America to start costing taxpayers more than originally promised. Governor Bill Richardson’s generous gift to British billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Last year, Governor Richardson spent $100 million of our hard earned tax dollars on a billionaire’s dream instead of new schools for our children. This year, he wants to to take 10% of the state’s road budget and build a nice ramp for Sir Branson. This is on top of the increased local gross receipts tax being trust upon Southern New Mexicans.

Oh yeah, this trip just keeps getting better.