Inside the Capitol

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5-29 Gov's popularity still going up

52913 Gov 66%

SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez's popularity is still climbing. A recent poll by Survey USA shows her at 66 percent popularity. The polling group isn't one of the best in the nation but it seems to show a continued upward trend in the governor's popularity.
It is difficult to pinpoint the source of that popularity. The state's economy is the only one in the area not to be recovering. More people are leaving the state than arriving. And there seems to be a general acceptance of federal cuts in budget and personnel without much complaining.
Gov. Martinez was able to push through the 2013 Legislature a last-minute measure to cut business taxes. Then we were told the numbers on which the measure was sold were faulty. The cuts were supposed to keep businesses from leaving but so far those businesses have not been identified.
The oil boom in the Hobbs area is the one bright spot in the economy. Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two will bring us some notoriety when it finally gets off the ground. Sir Richard Branson says that will be Christmas but he has been pushing back the date for five years. And the space travel won't bring in much money right away.
Meanwhile New Mexico is undergoing what is being called its worst drought in history. Combined with the wind, the conditions seem much like they were in the 1950s.
Preston Jones, a classmate of mine at the University of New Mexico in the late '50s, wrote a play called "House on the Magdalena Flats," in which the villain was the wind that blew throughout the play. The characters all became a little crazy before it ended. The play was depressing but believable for those of us who had lived through the '50s.
The old adage, "Whiskey's fer drinking; water's fer fighting" has seldom been truer. Water users along the Pecos are fighting a priority call for water by Carlsbad and now Midland, Texas is pumping just the other side of the state line and draining all of Jal's ground water. Midland city officials say they want to be good neighbors so they will be glad to sell Jal the water it is pumping out from under Jal.
That is pretty typical of the way Texas has treated our state from the beginning. In order for New Mexico to become a state, Texas insisted that it get a 500,000 acre strip of New Mexico's Eastern border. Have you ever wondered why New Mexico has a little notch protruding from its Northeastern corner? That is our border with Oklahoma, which didn't demand a piece of New Mexico in order to vote for our statehood.
Many New Mexicans are demonstrating the true meaning of being good neighbors. They are coming to the aid of the residents of Moore, Oklahoma, who lost so much in the recent tornados.
The federal government is running into problems with providing its own help. Funding cuts for the Federal Emergency Management Agency mean there won't be enough money to pay the damage claims without a special appropriation.
Oklahoma's two U.S. senators are complicating the matter by insisting the money to help the citizens of Moore be taken from other federal agencies. It also doesn't help that these senators have voted against all other states that have experienced disasters. The citizens of Moore are going to have to hope other members of Congress are more understanding.
The main complaint the Oklahoma senators seem to have is that there always are some senators who will not vote for disaster relief unless their state gets a goodie in the bill. Evidently Kentucky asparagus growers want a piece of the action. And the Virgin Islands are asking for something.
Fortunately good-hearted New Mexicans are providing help even though we are the only state in the area that hasn't recovered much from the recession.


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