Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Exhibit A" bill demands 'legitimate rape' victims carry fetus to term for use as evidence in cour


Santa Fe, New Mexico - Victims of rape and incest will be felons if at least one New Mexico lawmaker gets her way.  "Exhibit A" legislation, proposed as HB206 this week in the state legislature, forces women to carry fetuses conceived from rape to term so they can be showcased as "evidence" in court. The bill also criminalizes women who seek out abortions resulting from rape or incest.

The actual language of the proposed bill says enough:


"Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result or criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime."

If passed, victims of rape and incest who seek to end a pregnancy resulting from rape could be sentenced to three years in prison. 

"In addition to being blatantly unconstitutional, the bill turns victims of rape and incest, who have just been through a horrible sexual assault, into felons and forces them to become incubators of evidence for the state," says Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive non-profit opposing the bill. "According to Republican philosophy, victims who are 'legitimately raped' will now have to carry the fetus to term in order to prove their case. "

HB206 was introduced in the New Mexico Legislature by Republican State Representative Cathrynn Brown (R) of Carlsbad. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Steve Pearce is Crazier Than We Thought

We know it's late, but we just got back to our office from the legislature and we couldn't leave until we told you what we just heard.

Tea Party Congressman Steve Pearce addressed a joint session of the New Mexico legislature today.  His big message to his constituents and legislators?  All the unemployed people in my district are on drugs. 

At least 36,000 of Pearce's constituents were unemployed in 2011 and the state and region has continued to lose jobs since but, according to Pearce, "They can't pass the drug screen and they won't come off of government assistance."


Pearce also told the legislature that he hosted job fairs for constituents, not to help them get jobs, but to point out that those job-seeking constituents were all just drug users and abusing public assistance.

The reason I had the jobs fairs is because I was hearing everyone saying there were no jobs. And then on the other hand, I was seeing employers say, 'We have no people. We can't hire anyone. They won't come to work. They can't pass the drug screen and they won't come off of government assistance.' So we began to have the job fairs to point that out."

Pearce's district includes all of Southern New Mexico including some of the most unemployed counties in the state.  Here's a snapshot of the employment situation from the State's latest Labor Market Review:

  • Total nonfarm employment in the Las Cruces MSA (largest metropolitan area in the district) decreased by 2,500 jobs (in December) or 3.5percent, marking eight consecutive months of negative growth.

  • Over the year, total nonfarm employment decreased by 2,500 jobs or 3.5 percent, marking eight consecutive months of negative growth. Both public- and private-sector industries posted declines in employment (down 3.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively).

  • New Mexico's most-unemployed county, Luna, is in Pearce's Second District.  1-in-6 working persons there are unemployed.

We're still here working - we do it 365 days a year, even when there are no elections - because we know we are moving New Mexico forward.  When people like Steve Pearce say things like this, he's pushing us backwards and we won't stand for it.

Check out our new Rapid Response Team to spread the word about Steve Pearce. We need 500 members in CD2 to help us keep the spotlight on Pearce!  Join us today!


Keeping up with the crazy things Steve Pearce says is more than a full-time job.  We're still here in the office late and we're not done.

But, we can't do it alone.

That's why we need you to:

Join our Rapid Response Team to keep the spotlight on Steve Pearce!


Alert us when you catch Steve Pearce saying something else crazy and we'll help you spread it to friends, family and the news!

Together we can keep the spotlight on Tea Party-darling Steve Pearce.


We're only three weeks into 2013 we've already had to call out Steve Pearce three times!

New Mexico can't afford any more of Steve Pearce.

He's crazier than we thought and we need your help to keep the spotlight on him!

Join our Rapid Response Team to keep the spotlight on Steve Pearce!

Proposed Bill Expands Working Families Tax Credits: Puts More Money in Economy

Proposed Bill Expands Working Families Tax Credits: Puts More Money in Economy

Santa Fe - Consumer spending, things like dining out or buying a new pair of pants, accounts for almost 70% of our economy.   So it follows that putting more money into the hands of people who will spend it would have a big and immediate impact in growing a slow economy like ours.

It's not a new idea - George W. Bush did it in 2008 by sending out $100-billion in tax rebates to households.  The non-profit, non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research examined the evidence.  According to the Wall Street Journal:

They find that, on average, households spent between 12% and 30% of their rebates on nondurables -- things that don't last for more than three years -- and another chunk on cars and other durables, bringing the amount spent (as opposed to saved or used to pay down debt) to between 50% and 90% in the six months following receipt of the stimulus. Older, low-income and home-owning recipients were particularly likely to spend the money, they found. They figure that the stimulus, derided by some other economists as a waste of money, added about 1.3% to 2.3% to inflation-adjusted consumer spending in the second quarter of 2008, at an annual rate, and between 0.6% and 1.0% in the third quarter.

Bottom line: giving money to people who will spend it, particularly those who are low-income or own homes, spurs growth. 

At least one proposal before the New Mexico state legislature, Senate Bill 109, proposes to do just that by expanding the Working Families Tax Credit. 

In 2009, more than 220,000 working New Mexico families shared $489.4 million in refunded credits , averaging $2,215 each, according to a report by the National Council of State Legislators.   

And that amount was at the current 10% rate.  New Mexico reduced the credit, and thus the amount of money available for our lowest income residents to spend on things like food, school supplies and rent, by $40 million in 2007.  Since then, the cost of living has increased almost 10%. 

Senator Jacob Candelaria, sponsor of the bill, told us this by email:

"Recent economic reports show that New Mexico has the highest rate of income inequality in the country--this shocks the conscience, and is an immediate call to all of us to take bold action on behalf of New Mexico's working families..."The state's working families tax credit is an extremely effective anti-poverty program for children, improving their chances for succeeding in school and in life."

State Representative Ed Sandoval is co-sponsoring the legislation in the House.  Candelaria also says he already has seven co-sponsors in the Senate: - Sen. T. Keller, Sen. H. Morales, Sen. W. O'Neill, Sen. L. Lopez, Sen. Maj. Leader M. Sanchez, Sen. M. Padilla and Sen. P. Wirth.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's Arithmetic: Governor's plan to create four times the jobs with half the budget revealed predictable results

It's Arithmetic: Governor's plan to create four times the jobs with half the budget revealed predictable results

Two years into the term of Governor Susana Martinez, New Mexico holds the dubious distinction of being one of only six states in the country still hemorrhaging jobs and the second worst in the country when it comes to job growth.  Martinez announced her economic recovery policy in her first State of the State address in 2011:  "I've long said that government doesn't create jobs. Government creates the environment where small businesses can create those jobs. We must recognize that in a global economy, businesses will choose to locate and expand in areas that encourage -- not impede -- job growth.... That's why we'll cut wasteful programs that do little for job creation."

Conservatives continue to push Martinez to cut more government spending, decrease corporate tax rates (which less than 10% of state corporations pay anyway) and eliminate regulations.  This formula, they say, is sure to grow jobs. 

Two years later, those jobs have yet to emerge and we wanted to know why.

Most recently, the conservative Rio Grande Foundation began publishing lists of public protections it says Martinez should eliminate as a part of her grand economic development package.  Before endorsing the idea of more of the same, we decided to look -with the benefit of two years of Martinez policy - at the impact her first economic development proposals had on job creation in the state. 

What follows is the first of an occasional series reviewing the impact of Governor Martinez's first two years of economic policy.

Martinez Math: If You Cut It in Half, It Is Four Times As Big

In terms of jobs, perhaps no program was more important than the New Mexico Partnership.  On paper, Martinez said her plans would create 2,200 jobs through this program in 2012 alone - four times the number of jobs it created the previous year.

The New Mexico Partnership identifies itself as "a private non-profit organizationmartinezmath.jpg created in 2003 at the behest of local leaders and industry across New Mexico to be the official business recruiting arm for the state to attract business and create jobs in New Mexico."   Funded almost entirely from the state's Economic Development Department, it is the only organization authorized to act on behalf of the state to recruit new businesses and create jobs.

In the four years from FY2008 - FY2011, the Partnership reports creating 6,591 at an average cost of $799 per job.  This successful public-private partnership for recruiting businesses to relocate to New Mexico has been a key component of the state's economic development plan for years.

So, Martinez announced that her budget would cut programs that had little to do with job creation, then slashed the Partnership's budget in half while quadrupled the agency's job creation goal.  Predictably, slashing the budget of the only agency responsible for and empowered to do business recruitment did not produce four times the job creation or business relocations Martinez set as her goal in her first full year on the job.  Instead, job creation under Martinez has continued to fall while neighboring Western states are attracting and growing new business.

IRS filings show that the Partnership received government funds of $1,279,800 and $1,100,000 in Fiscal Years 10 and FY11 respectively.  Purchasing Order records available from the state's Sunshine Portal Website confirm these expenditures (PO10-419-P526-10116 and PO11-419-P256-11001).

But under the Martinez administration, the Partnership's budget was slashed.  They received only $600,000 in FY12 and $630,000 in FY13 - just 54% of their previous allocation. (PO 12-419-P526-12010 and PO13-419-P526-13016).  In its new 2014 budget report, the  LFC reports  "the Partnership is now receiving less funding through its contract with the EDD - resulting in fewer dollars for recruiting activities." 

Despite cutting the agency's budget in half, the Governor expanded the agency's job creation goal by more than four times, to 2,200 jobs in FY12 despite the fact that the partnership had reported only creating 499 jobs in FY11 with twice the budget. None the less, Martinez expected - either naively or misleadingly - that the state's investment would cost $500 per job created.   

The NMEDD's own publications show conflicting data on the actual jobs created by the partnership.  In its FY12 annual report, the agency reports in two places that the Partnership created 657 jobs, while in another place and again in its FY12Q4 report states that it created just 572.  Either way the agency fell far short of its goal of creating 2,200 jobs on a limited budget. The LFC's budget and report cites 657 jobs but notes that record keeping in the agency may be an issue.

Similarly, the Partnership was tasked with doubling the number of business locations in the state and maintain almost exactly the number of new business leads it created.  Predictably, the agency failed to meet these goals as well. 

The agency does consistently report a cost per job created of $913, almost twice the state's estimate and goal.  Conveniently, to avoid this problem in the future, the agency proposes to "discontinue the cost per job created" in the future.

By contrast, other Western states have invested in additional economic development funding for similar programs and saw job growth as a result.  In FY2012, Colorado appropriated an additional $5,000,000 to its office of Economic Development and International Trade for job creation.  Colorado posted job growth in 2012. 

The State of Nevada's job losses have tracked and even exceeded those in other Western states, including New Mexico, since 2008.  However, for FY2012, Nevada almost doubled its state investment in economic development adding almost $14.9 million to its $18 million budget.  They also funded "$10 million in General Fund appropriations to establish a Nevada Business Development Fund and to provide funding and incentives for businesses looking to relocate to Nevada."  Unlike New Mexico which posted a 0.6% job year-over-year job loss in November 2012, Nevada posted a 1.2% job growth over the same period.  Every other Western state posted YOY job growth as well.

Bottom Line

The Santa Fe New Mexican recently editorialized on Martinez's economic plan, adding this: The New York Times quoted an Economic Policy Institute study in a recent editorial, "If not for state and local budget austerity, the report found, the economy would have 2.3 million more jobs today, half of which would be in the private sector." 

This administration has adopted a fatalistic approach to job creation.  They claim that government can't grow jobs and business doesn't want to move here.  Then they slash the funding of any agency looking to prove otherwise but put up smokescreens like wildly unrealistic expecations for job growth and hope it happens. It makes no sense, but it's our reality.

The bottom line for New Mexico:  this arithmetic doesn't add up.   Adding investing in economic development programs, especially in tough times, creates jobs. Cutting those programs loses them.  No matter how many jobs Governor Martinez says on paper or in speech her plans will create, the numbers don't lie.  The lesson of job creation and the Partnership should also teach New Mexicans, and especially legislators, to be skeptical of the administration's predicted job creation outcomes.

Despite her insistence that government does not create jobs, the facts tell us otherwise.  And whether she likes it or not, she was elected to run our government and use it to create jobs.  The sooner the governor accepts this, the sooner we can get back to work. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tell Steve Pearce to get off his butt & pass the Violence Against Women Act

We just wrapped up a press conference at the state Republican Party headquarters where we called on the GOP and Congressman Steve Pearce to stop playing politics and games with the Violence Against Women Act.VAWAStats.jpg

Since it was first passed almost 20 years ago, Congress has regularly updated the law and authorized its renewal.  The law already covered women and child victims of sex abuse.  And 257 days ago the Senate added historic provisions to ensure that all victims - including those in LGBT, Native American and immigrant communities - were protected.  But, House Republicans refused to even hear the bill.

Just like when some Tea Party Republicans tried to tell us there were "legitimate" and illegitimate victims of rape, they refused to hear any bill that protected all victims of domestic and sexual violence - only the "legitimate" ones.

It takes a special type of politician to play politics with matters of life and death.

The American people did not let them get away with ignoring victims of Hurricane Sandy, and we won't let Pearce and the GOP get away with ignoring victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Sign the petition to demand Steve Pearce and his Tea Party colleagues play politics somewhere else and pass the Violence Against Women Act for all of New Mexico's victims.   

purple-ribbon.jpgMore than 13,000 victims of abuse in New Mexico are counting on us to make this the most successful petition we've ever created. To be sure he gets the message, we'll send Rep. Pearce a purple ribbon - the symbol of domestic violence awareness - from each signer of the petition, no matter where in New Mexico you live.

  -Martha Burk, Marci Blaze, Susan Loubet, Laurie Weahkee and Marsha Garcia

PS: It's disgraceful that a New Mexico Congressman would oppose expanding the Violence Against Women Act to include Native Americans, immigrants or LGBT neighbors.  Send him a purple ribbon, then ask one friend to do the same.  If Steve Pearce won't stand with our women and victims, we will. 

Unsubscribe | Forward to a Friend Visit our web site | facebook-share.png | 

ProgressNow New Mexico. © 2012 All rights reserved.

Follow @ProgressNowNM

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What kind of guy says NO to hurricane relief? Steve Pearce.

Cong. Steve Pearce (NM-2)

New Mexico's Tea Party Congressman Steve Pearce (R) was one of 67 Republicans to vote against Hurricane Sandy relief earlier this week - two and a half-months after the superstorm killed more than 100 people and brought trillions of dollars of damage to Northeastern states.

Though Pearce was quick to say "NO" to his colleagues and fellow Americans in states from North Carolina to Maine suffering from Sandy, he has had no problem asking those same Americans to bail out New Mexicans from countless past natural disasters.

During the previous Congress - the same one in which Republicans failed to even hear Sandy relief - Pearce sponsored HR6017 to allow the FEMA administrator to suspend a waiting requirement for federal flood insurance for victims of New Mexico's wildfire season.  Had it passed, it would have opened up more federal disaster aid money, paid for by all American taxpayers, to aid his constituents.  Then, in September, Pearce wrote in a public letter to the Ruidoso Free Press, "I applaud this federal response" after FEMA stepped up to assist communities like Ruidoso, Alamagordo and Lincoln County in his district affected by wildfires and flooding. Similarly, in 2008, he notified FEMA to be alert to a possibility that flooding in Aztec, New Mexico (not even his district) could require FEMA disaster relief.


By anyone's account, the partisan politics practiced in Washington today are testing our system of government.  But, until now, America has taken pride in reaching across state lines and across the aisle to help fellow Americans ravaged by natural disaster.  When New Mexico was burning, taxpayers across the country - including those in states now suffering from Sandy - contributed to our recovery.  Congressman Pearce went even further asking his colleagues to make a special exception to the law to permit residents of our fire-ravaged state to receive federal assistance not then available.  But when it comes time to return the favor to a few patriotic Northeastern Americans, Steve Pearce just said, "NO."

This practice of playing politics with people's lives and futures in their most desperate time of need is despicable and un-American.  While we are thankful that the remainder of our state's Congressional delegation had the good sense and decency to do the right thing in a time of crisis, we all suffer a black eye because of Congressman Pearce. We can only hope that our fellow Americans will see past his petty politics and gamesmanship when another fire season is upon us and we again extend a hand to them for help.