In Case You Missed It
Hometown Editorial Slams Senator Smith and Democrats for ‘Pointless Announcement’
Albuquerque, NM– Last week, Senate Democrats announced that they found a compromise amongst themselves to call a special legislative session. Unfortunately, their announcement was an attempt to mislead voters and no actual compromise has been struck.
Their supposed “Chief Negotiator” is Senator John Arthur Smith who has demonstrated to his constituents that he is no longer the honest, fiscal conservative he has claimed to be.
“Republicans have been working in good faith to reach a compromise, yet we have seen nothing but political games coming from Senate Democrats led by Michael Sanchez. The hometown paper of the Senate’s chief negotiator John Arthur Smith is seeing the charade for what it is,” said Pat Garrett, spokesman for the Republican Party of New Mexico.
Editorial: A pointless announcement by NM Senate
The Deming Headlight
Nearly two months after the 2015 session of the Legislature ended without passage of a capital outlay bill, Senate Democrats finally announced they had reached an agreement. With themselves.
“The Senate Democrats agreed tonight on a capital outlay proposal put forth by lead caucus negotiator Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Dona Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra-35),” they announced last week in a press release.
The package was “developed as a result of discussions with the speaker of the House of Representatives, and after listening to the needs of local communities, businesses, and tribal groups,” Democrats said.
All which was news to House Republicans.
“It is stunning that the Senate Democrats would publicly trumpet ‘mission accomplished’ on a capital outlay deal by agreeing to their own proposal when no one else even knows the details of the proposal,” Speaker of the House Don Tripp said.
The big announcement was that Senate Democrats had agreed among themselves to a proposed compromise on $45 million in highway funds within the $264 million bill. They wanted to take the money out of the general fund. The governor and House Republicans wanted to fund the projects through severance tax bonds. Now, the Senate has agreed to split the difference, paying half from the general fund and half from bonds.
While that may be a small step in the right direction, it is far from a final agreement, especially given that it was arrived at unilaterally.
Both Tripp and Gov. Susana Martinez have noted the estimated cost of $50,000 a day to hold a special session, and have said one should only be called if there is a deal reached ahead of time.
We agree that it makes no sense to go back to Santa Fe at that kind of cost to just rehash the same arguments that they could not agree to in March.
About $264 million in construction projects throughout the state were lost when the session ended without the capital outlay bill being passed. It is no surprise municipalities and business groups throughout the state are calling for a special session to revive the bill.
Even with millions of dollars in unspent money still in the pipeline from capital outlay bills passed in previous years, critical projects like needed road improvements near the Santa Teresa industrial park can’t go forward without this authorization.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office told The Associated Press on Friday that Martinez has been meeting with leaders from both parties, but no agreement had been reached.
As Senate Democrats noted in their press release, time is running short to get projects approved for the upcoming bonding cycle. But they probably aren’t going to get much accomplished negotiating with themselves.