Sandoval County Ordinance Resolution Needed

Commentary by Carla J. Sonntag, President and Founder, New Mexico Business Coalition

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In the case of the Sandoval County oil and gas ordinance, we seem to be playing that game, but with new features that add to the craziness.

Oil and gas operations have been in the County since the 1950s. While the idea of an ordinance isn’t new, Commissioners can’t seem to reach a decision on how to handle it. At least five times now, the Commission has had ordinances in front of them and have been unable to act.

Why? Because irrational activists have drowned out the voice of reason on what constitutes a judicious and useful ordinance. Hysteria booming through the halls of the Sandoval County Government Building controlled the conversation. “Tribal consultation hasn’t happened!” (The County has no authority over tribal lands.) “The ordinance is being rammed through at the last minute!” (Sandoval County has considered an ordinance for two years.) “It will destroy our land and water!” (There has never been a documented case of contaminated water due to oil and gas operations in New Mexico.)

To address misinformation about the Right to Work (RTW) ordinance NMBC is supporting that recently passed in Sandoval and Otero County (and is under consideration in several other counties), consider these answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Will the RTW ordinance affect our teachers, firefighters or police?

No! They are completely unaffected.

The RTW ordinance only affects private sector employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a federal law. No state, county, or municipal employees will be affected by the ordinance in any way.

In fact, hiring halls for construction trades, such as the carpenters or operating engineers, are unaffected. Many employers find the hiring hall arrangements allow them to screen and hire qualified employees, and they are not prohibited by right to work laws in states or counties.

Hands off permanent fund

Letter to the Editor, Albuquerque Journal, published on April 7, 2018. Written by JOE STEHLING of Angel Fire

I TRULY DO not understand why the activists who want to tap our permanent fund are willing to sacrifice the future of New Mexico to throw more money at early childhood education. They have no idea of the economics and long-term impact on drawing down the fund for unproven results.

Petition problems threaten some candidates; some candidates have already been disqualified to be on the ballot. The cut-off date for candidates to turn in their nominating petitions with the required number of valid signatures has come and gone. Besides the risk of not having enough legible, properly registered voter signatures on their petitions, several candidates are facing legal challenges (to have them disqualified) based on information printed on the petition itself.

People often ask if NMBC supports Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP). Quite honestly, JTIP has rarely been a good thing for New Mexico. While NMBC can support the concept of what was designed to provide on-the-job and classroom training that reimburses for 50 to 75 percent of wages for newly created jobs, it seems we just have not found an effective way to manage it. New Mexico is really good at giving away taxpayer dollars, but we often get nothing for it.

From the Four Corners area to SE New Mexico, NMBC is bringing a great BASH (Business and Social Hour) to a city near you.

MFG jobs have increased across the nation, but not in NM. How will import tariffs impact manufacturers in our state? Give us your thoughts HERE.

Good (very good) news for BASH lovers! Thursday’s BASH in Albuquerque was a huge success with 180 attendees and people around the state are asking what about us. The very good news is – you’re next! Here’s the lineup for the next two scheduled events around New Mexico:

Farmington, 4/19/18, 5 – 7 pm, keynote speaker, Andrew Vecera, Chief of Staff, representing U.S. Rep Rob Bishop, Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

Hobbs, 5/3/18, 4:30 – 6:30 pm, back by popular demand, keynote speaker Jonathan Williams, co-author of Rich States, Poor States.

It's time to stop complaining and start taking action. If you are ready to hear some actionable steps we can take (right now) to improve our state, you don't want to miss the BASH (Business and Social Hour) in Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon.

Ticket information here.

Why is New Mexico rated as the 'worst run' state in the latest edition of Rich States, Poor States and what can be done about it? Join us on March 1 and find out. We know we can do better. Let's celebrate worker rights, new opportunities and get to it! It's time for a BASH (Business and Social Hour) to hear what NM is doing right, what we're doing wrong, and what we can do to improve our state.

The BASH, on March 1 at the Albuquerque Marriott, from 4:30 - 6:30 pm, will feature Rich States Poor States co-author Jonathan Williams, with special guest, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block. Join elected officials from around the state, candidates, business and community leaders and New Mexicans who want to help change our state from poverty to prosperity! Light hors d'ouvres provided, cash bar will be available.

$10 advance tickets on sale now ($15 at the door). Limited seating will be available, get your tickets today!

Did you hear about the proposed City of Albuquerque tax increase? It's true, ABQ City Councilors Trudy Jones and Ken Sanchez have proposed a $55 million dollar (estimated per year) gross receipts tax increase. As pointed out in the Rich States, Poor States book, areas that insist on raising taxes end up losing their greatest resource---their people---resulting with bigger budget problems than before taxes were raised. Better management of tax dollars, not higher taxes are what is needed.

The legislation will be introduced today, 2-21-18 at the ABQ City Council meeting. If councilors pass the tax increase ordinance before April, the tax will start on July 1. You can let the councilors know how you feel HERE.

Legislative Update: There is still time for a grouping of anti-crime bills to pass both chambers. NMBC is pleased to report continued hard work and cooperation by leaders from both parties in Santa Fe to pass an omnibus package of 5 bills that would improve safety and help fight crime in our state.

NMBC stands against massive overspending by our federal government and the band-aid approach to 'keeping government open.' Yesterday our elected officials in Washington, D.C., were faced with voting on another kick-the-can down- the-road budget.

Beside the problems on expansion of our national deficit, the budget also has language that will hurt manufacturers, impacting the jobs they provide. NMBC took the opportunity to communicate with New Mexico's congressional delegation, encouraging them to vote against this a bloated and otherwise troublesome budget. As we know, however, the bill passed and the President already signed it.

When the dust settles and how each of our members of Congress voted, NMBC will let voters know.

The House passed HJR 1 Land Grant Fund Distributions, CA, Reps ‘Moe’ Maestas, Javier Martinez, and Stephanie Garcia Richards. It’s sad for our state when so many representatives misunderstand the proper use of the land grant permanent fund and what raiding it would mean to our children in future generations.

This fund is not a piggy bank or rainy day fund to be raided whenever you think of something we should be doing in New Mexico. No one disagrees that our children need a better education, but we’ve seen proof positive that money is not the answer. We’ve increased funding for 10 years and yet our results of a poor educational system have not changed. Obviously money is not the answer. But if you take more of those precious funds now, there will be smaller distributions later.

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