Susana Martinez is a Political Hack? Maybe; Maybe Not

She is New Mexico’s new Governor.  Facing a budget shortfall, due largely to the decreased revenue from oil and gas, she is looking for ways to cut the fat from the state and balance the budget.  Fair enough.  We all know it needs to be done.

So why, I ask, does she wants to cut New Mexico’s revenue even more?

Under our previous Governor, the film industry has been flocking to New Mexico to make movies.  They receive subsidies.  Susana Martinez doesn’t like that. She wants that changed. Why? Because she believes New Mexico is losing money.  However, the movie making brings hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.  A contradiction. She believes, for no apparent reason, that the money will continue to flow in and filmmakers will continue to flock to New Mexico.  Yes, a lot of movies were made here in the past. However, production has increased dramatically since the subsidies were instituted, even while film making has decreased in other states.  For someone who hates taxes, she makes no sense.  In this case, the subsidies actually were attracting more industry to New Mexico.  She wants to cuts taxes generally, believing that high taxes keep industry away, and yet she doesn’t see the contradiction in cutting the subsidies for movie making.

I begin to wonder if she hasn’t a clue what she’s doing.

Another thing she wants to do is eliminate the practice of allowing illegal immigrants to have a driver’s license.  This was a campaign promise, aimed at those who don’t want any more illegal immigrants here in New Mexico.  She is fulfilling her promise, sure, but at the cost of losing all that revenue!  Here we are facing a budget shortfall, and she wants to totally eliminate a large source of income. On top of that, the policy of allowing illegal immigrants to have driver’s licenses has decreased the number of people driving without insurance.  Governor Martinez has no idea how to stem the flow of illegals, but she wants to take us back to the days when none of them had insurance, because they couldn’t get it without a license.  Stupid idea. If she were to focus instead of some way to prevent illegals from entering New Mexico, I’d understand that.

However, since illegals enter New Mexico not only from Mexico, but also by way of Texas and Arizona, she’d have to build a wall around the entire state with armed guards every 50 feet.  Since that’s not going to happen, she should not deprive the state of a source of income, putting all of us at risk from uninsured motorists, just to satisfy her fear of illegals.  A climate of fear has been created in which people actually believe that we are all in immediate danger from these Mexicans, even though Mexico is hardly the only source of illegals in this country. At one point in recent history, it was poor Irish who made up a great percentage of the illegals, overstaying  their student, visitor and work visas.

Governor Susana Martinez is kowtowing to prejudice and hysteria for political gain.  She wanted to be elected.  She promised something stupid, and now she is going to add to the budget deficit, while taking credit for keeping those illegal Mexicans out, even though that won’t happen.  She has to be one dumb ass to think taking away driver’s licenses is going to stop people from coming to New Mexico.  But I doubt she’s that stupid.  She simply wants applause from her big-money supporters in Texas.  Texas. Yes. She received a lot of campaign contributions from Texas in order to insure that another Democrat wouldn’t take office in New Mexico.

More politics. More dumb politics actually.  She actually had the nerve to accuse the Environmental Improvement Board that she disbanded of not doing what’s best for the state because of narrow-minded political goals.  Can she not hear herself?  Or does she not really care about the state at all?

I’ll listen to her State of the State message today, but I’m not optimistic. It’s more politics as usual for us.

AFTER THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS TODAY:

I got some answers from her speech to the Legislature today.

She claims that some filmmakers have abused the subsidies by overspending on frivolous items. Perhaps. She cited one example; I don’t know the whole story.

She still claims she will make New Mexico’s border more secure, firstly by keeping driver’s licenses out of the hands of illegals.  Good luck securing the border that way.

She denounced the influx of Federal stimulus dollars to New Mexico, saying that it gave lawmakers an easy out, and they didn’t have to take action. Not true – the budget has already been trimmed in the last two years, and much has been cut.  Not enough has been cut, but she overstated her case, claiming that lawmakers did nothing.

She reemphasized her promise to sell the State’s jet, which she calls the State’s luxury jet.  As I understood it, the jet was a way to save money by ferrying State officials around instead of handing out huge travel vouchers.  I could be wrong; perhaps it was just a waste a money. If so, then I applaud her decision.

Governor Martinez called for the reinstatement of the death penalty for certain crimes, as the rape and murder of children and the murder of police officers in the line of duty.  I have to say that I agree.  I feel the death penalty is not appropriate for many crimes, as, for example,  crimes of passion, but premeditated heinous crimes against children is a reasonable case for making the death penalty available for juries to consider.

She also denounced Cap & Tax ( a cap on carbon emissions credits, and a tax on carbon produced) as partisan ideology, and not sound science.  I should point out to her that the scientists involved in this are neither democrats nor republicans, but scientists concerned with the health of our environment as a whole.  Just because some politicians support it or denounce it doesn’t mean the science itself is bad.   Her political party denounces it, so she denounces it, without knowing if cap and tax is bad. It’s why she disbanded the state’s Environmental Improvement Board.

There were a lot interesting of things in this speech, like having the state cover the salaries of those unemployed who are hired for six months, that I like.  I don’t know where she intends to find the money for that in a budget crises, as she calls it herself.   It sounds like something she thinks is a good way to get people back to work, but I don’t know how much thought she’s put into it, as far as how the program will work, and how it will be paid for.   We’ll see if this one goes anywhere. It’ll probably be a casualty in a  trade-off for other legislation, and, I suspect that it is exactly that – a bargaining chip.

I support her call to cut administrative salaries in our public schools by 1  1/2 percent.  The bureaucracy is indeed bloated, and should be cut, long before cuts are made in classrooms.

I’m not sure how her idea that all those arrested for a felony crime be DNA tested will work out.  It goes against the privacy concerns of Libertarians, liberals, conservatives, Republicans and Democrats.  Perhaps if DNA testing is required for those convicted of felony crimes, it will pass. We’ll see.

One thing I absolutely support is her call for an end to social promotion.  I believe there is no reason to promote children through school who do not have a grasp of the basics.  Either they learn a minimum of the core curriculum or they do not pass.  I first saw this many years ago firsthand as a math aide at the local technical/vocational school.  While the school had a Preparatory division, ostensibly for people who had been long out of school to be brought up to speed in math and literacy, most of the students were high school graduates who had just graduated!  That’s indefensible. They didn’t know rudimentary basics like negative numbers, long division, or simple algebra.   Most could neither comprehend what they read, nor write a simple paragraph.

Lastly, I enthusiastically support her call to end corruption in public office.  She says that those found guilty of such corruption be removed from office and serve mandatory jail time.  Hear! Hear!

OK, so I rushed to judgment, based on the newly-elected Governor’s dissolution of the Environmental Improvement Board and her promise to take away the driver’s licenses of all illegal immigrants, so I will withhold judgment for now.   She deserves a chance to try and change things.  Good luck with that Susana, you’ll need it.

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