Author Archives: merilee

The new heroes of gun violence

There’s a new standard of heroism in America. The hero is the one who jumps in front of the shooter, saving lives while sacrificing his own. It happened twice in recent weeks. This is a new subject for frank talks … Continue reading

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Retirees responding to pension challenges

  At least three separate controversies are going on these days at PERA, the Public Employees Retirement Association. One involves hundreds of thousands of dollars; the second involves billions, and the third involves open meetings. PERA, the Public Employees Retirement … Continue reading

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Legislation making New Mexico more humane

Of all the bills that died in this year’s legislature, I thought surely the pet food tax would have passed. The pet food tax – excuse me, fee — passed comfortably last year and was vetoed by Gov. Martinez. I … Continue reading

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A little tax break

Thanks to an obscure provision in the New Mexico tax code, a property tax break is available to a few people who might really need it. An injured worker who receives workers’ compensation permanent total disability benefits (PTD), is low-income, … Continue reading

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The capital outlay secret

Every year, the Legislature divides up a pot of money known as capital outlay, for one-time expenses such as construction, repair, and purchases of equipment. This year the total has approached a billion dollars. The process of dividing the money … Continue reading

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Health care protections passed for New Mexicans

NOTE:  all the bills mentioned as not yet signed have been signed. The dental therapist bill has finally passed New Mexico’s legislature and been signed by the governor, after years of persistent effort. This bill (HB 308) creates a new … Continue reading

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Early childhood department brings fresh opportunity

  New Mexico is about to have an early childhood department, taking a major step forward toward early childhood education for all New Mexico children. Senate Bill 22, which creates the department, has passed and been signed and has been … Continue reading

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School funding has to balance with the rest of the budget

“We have to fund education by starting from what’s needed, rather than how much money is available.” As education dominates this year’s legislative session, that’s the brilliant insight we hear quoted repeatedly. As if nobody ever thought of that before. … Continue reading

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Minimum wage increase may be too much for some businesses

NOTE: after this column was published, the more moderate legislation was passed. When you own a business, you have to pay your employees before you pay yourself, whether or not you have made any money. It’s the law. You also … Continue reading

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Let us all choose to die in peace

Life and death; pain and suffering: sometimes it’s necessary to talk about the most profound questions about the meaning of life itself and how the state might intervene in the most personal decision we may ever make. New Mexico is … Continue reading

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