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Wednesday, 25 November, 2020

Financial Follies

Date: 15 March, 2010

By: Chief

Imageere in New Mexico our legislature has met and the session has ended. Thank God. 'Twas a short session — even years are 30 day sessions, odd years are 60 day marathons. But don't everybody breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Old Hot Rod, our very unillustrious Governor Bill Richardson, is already talking about calling forth a special legislative session. What a bounder.

The budget

What the fracas is all about is the state's budget. Actually, and far closer to the truth, the fracas is about the state debt or deficit — call it whatever you so choose. Our state's unbalanced checkbook register is hovering somewhere around $500 - $600 million tamales (it's far better than the greenbacks you Yankees invented). And those are last year's numbers. Bad news.

My representative to the Round House, Candy Spence Ezzell, had this to say about the deficit in her letter:

"I can't even tell you the exact amount of our projected shortfall because the numbers we are given keep changing, and I am not sure I trust the numbers are correct. (Remember, 'Figures don't lie, but liars figure'!)[.]"

I do like her. Honest to the point of brutality. That is a good thing. Plus she is a rancher. You can't beat that with a poke in the eye by a sharp staub.

The kicker is this — during even numbered years only a very few matters can be brought before the legislature. Items such as:

Here, for your edification is Article IV, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of New Mexico:

"A. Each regular session of the legislature shall begin annually at 12:00 noon on the third Tuesday of January. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an odd-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed sixty days, and every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall remain in session not to exceed thirty days. No special session of the legislature shall exceed thirty days.

"B. Every regular session of the legislature convening during an even-numbered year shall consider only the following:

"(1) budgets, appropriations and revenue bills;
"(2) bills drawn pursuant to special messages of the governor; and
"(3) bills of the last previous regular session vetoed by the governor."

So what in the Sam Thump has our legislature been doing? They have been giving us the double shuffle, that is what. And violating their oath of office to boot. What we have here is the state is spending money it does not have. Not that this is new or Earth shattering. Congress does it as a matter of course, possibly as a matter of policy. But not at the state level. No sir. That is a very bad thing. Nonetheless, somehow, and nobody will admit how, my state is now over $500 million tamales in the hole. Hmmm. Something stinks and it sure ain't the tamales. That is a certifiable 'for sure'.

Here are a very few examples of corruption in action:

The two quoted parts are from Candy Spence Ezzell's letter.

Constitutional limits

While the Constitution of the United States does not have a balanced budget clause or anything similar — the State of New Mexico's Constitution sure as shootin' does. Quoting Article IV Section 29 of the Constitution of the State of New Mexico:

"No law authorizing indebtedness shall be enacted which does not provide for levying a tax sufficient to pay the interest, and for the payment at maturity of the principal."

That is contained within the legislative article of our state Constitution. Could it be our legislators cannot read? Doubtful. Most of them can read — at least up to the fifth grade level (the vast majority of our legislators regard the fifth grade as their "senior year" [thanks Jeff]). Candy is the sole exception. As Dorothy Parker once said:

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue."

That's Candy for ya.

It is as simple as this — the Democratically controlled legislature (for the last 80 years, that is no joke folks) willfully decided to pass Hot Rod's pet bills (rodents one and all) which:

Then the bottom dropped out on oil and natural gas prices. A whole lot of revenue was lost because the price had dropped — dramatically. Yet our scurvy dogs legislators did — nothing.

This is not to say that our legislature cannot spend money they do not have. Quite the contrary. Quoting Article IX, Section 7 of the Constitution of the State of New Mexico:

"The state may borrow money not exceeding the sum of two hundred thousand dollars [($200,000)] in the aggregate to meet casual deficits or failure in revenue, or for necessary expenses. The state may also contract debts to suppress insurrection and to provide for the public defense."

However, there is a difference, and a rather large one, between $200,000 and $500 million. Rabid skunks.

Special session

The state is nearing the financial rocks and shoals with a blind man at the helm and Hot Rod continues to bray about calling a special session of the legislature to deal with this government induced financial shipwreck — which is sorta like asking the fox to guard the hen house. Maroon.

Quoting Article IV, Section 6:

"Special sessions of the legislature may be called by the governor, but no business shall be transacted except such as relates to the objects specified in this proclamation. Provided, however, that when three-fifths of the members elected to the house of representatives and three-fifths of the members elected to the senate shall have certified to the governor of the state of New Mexico that in their opinion an emergency exists in the affairs of the state of New Mexico, it shall thereupon be the duty of said governor and mandatory upon him, within five days from the receipt of such certificate or certificates, to convene said legislature in extraordinary session for all purposes; and in the event said governor shall, within said time, Sundays excluded, fail or refuse to convene said legislature as aforesaid, then and in that event said legislature may convene itself in extraordinary session, as if convened in regular session, for all purposes, provided that such extraordinary self-convened session shall be limited to a period of thirty days, unless at the expiration of said period, there shall be pending an impeachment trial of some officer of the state government, in which event the legislature shall be authorized to remain in session until such trial shall have been completed."

Hot Rod will want to increase taxes. That is all he knows (and spending other people's money, the scoundrel). So will some members of the legislature. But there is another way. So simple — so pure. Cut costs. What a concept.

Don't spend more than you take in

Every person I know either:

It ain't that hard. And it makes sense. Yeah, you have to make unpleasant decisions but at least you will not be in financial ruin. Unlike the good ship New Mexico which is about to founder on the reef of financial ruin and stupidity.

In an attempt to fend off increased taxes and financial ruin — here is the e-mail I sent to Candy Spence Ezzell:

"Subject: Taxes. . .

"Hiya Candy,

"No increase on existing taxes.
"No new taxes.
"No temporary increase on existing taxes.
"No temporary new tax.

In short — *no*.

Instead, try this rather novel approach:

"a. Cut spending across the board.
"b. Repeal any existing law which increased state spending over the past seven years.
"c. Repeal existing criminal laws in "victimless crime" cases.
"d. All members of the legislature who voted in favor of increased spending over the last seven years can pay for the deficit — out of their own personal funds.
"e. Governor Bill "Hot Rod" Richardson who signed any legislation which increased spending can also pay for the deficit — from his personal funds.
"f. Kill the spaceport and the rail runner.

"Feel free to provide this email to any member of the legislature and/or the executive branch.

"Have a fine one."

If We the People get it then why can't the big spenders in government get it? It really doesn't matter. Suffice to say they don't. The way I see it all we gotta do is get rid of them. Then We the People can balance the books, no problem at all.

It may not be the best solution but it beats the living daylights out of what is going on now.

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