Friday, March 30, 2018

The Permanent Fund

Most people in New Mexico don’t understand what the Permanent Fund is or even how it works. Let’s start with the fact that I am a trained accountant. I have been trained to understand the business world and investments. I have worked for some very rich people in my past. I now work at a local college training students in basic accounting concepts.  I am going to try to explain in simple English a very complex system.

Years ago when New Mexico became a state the federal government land granted the state large tracks of land. The people who were running our state at the time decided to keep the land and lease it to companies. The money received as payment for those leases were gathered into a large fund. All the money is invested every year to gain interest. It is like the interest you would get from a savings account or a certificate of deposit. Over the life of our state our Permanent Fund has grown because we do not spend the principle or invested amount. We do spend the interest (Return on Investment, ROI) each year to run our government, build roads and state buildings; and to run our school systems. The Permanent Fund is just one source of income for our state. We also have fees, sales tax, and state income tax as well. 

To put it simply every citizen in this state is a trust fund baby. Our trust fund that pays our bills is called the Permanent Fund. Without it we would be a much poorer state. Or we would pay much more in taxes. Still our Permanent Fund is an investment fund that goes up and down with the international markets. We earn less interest when the markets are performing poorly. We earn more money when the markets are doing well. Presently the Permanent Fund is valued at 22.3 Billion dollars and provides 890 million in interest to run our state.

Now Governor Candidate Jeff Apodaca wants to refocus 5% or 1.12 Billion dollars of the Permanent Fund and invent that money into local businesses in the form of loans that would receive interest. We know that it would earn less interest here at home but it would help build our state and could lead to larger returns in the future as we build local businesses. We might just get to keep the next Bill Gates in our state.

This is how we currently invest our money from the Permanent Fund. 

At present 0% of the Permanent Fund is invested in local businesses. It is like our state is going to corporations like Wal-Mart and refusing to shop at any of the local businesses on Central. This is not very good for the local businesses and does nothing to create jobs in our state. Even a small investment in local businesses and startup companies could make this state millions of dollars in personal income taxes and taxes on small businesses without raising tax rates. Putting more people to work would also benefit our state because they would then be able to spend their income in our state therefore increasing the amount of sales tax collected again without raising the tax rates. 

Our state is in bad need of investment funds to grow our own small businesses and make sure we do not depend on one source of income from oil and gas companies.  If we are unwilling to invest in the businesses in this state, then why would anyone else want to invest? The money received from this plan could grow the amount of money that we have to spend on schools, government and roads.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Democratic Candidates for New Mexico Governor

Well we are down to two at this point for New Mexico Governor in the primary. 

Michelle Lujan Grisham came out of the state convention with strong support from the state delegates. She has traveled around the state and has been working to support this state as our congresswoman for Congressional District 1 since 2012. Her voting record is well documented. As is her political history. We know that nothing new will be coming out of the closet to surprise voters unless it is made up. She strongly supports early education and funding for teachers in Pre K through Higher Education and is supported by the teacher’s unions but you have to wonder what that will look like. Michelle has developed a strong ground game and has worked hard to know who her voters are in this state. However, Michelle is not favored by the Berniecrats because of her support for the Clintons. The thing to remember is that this state loves the Clintons and they love this state so in the long run because the Berniecrats are not large in number they do not really represent the voters. As a matter of fact, they only represent the extreme left that in most cases are not even democrats. Lujan Grisham’s website is; 

Jeff Apodaca is a millionaire who is former Governor Jerry Apodaca’s son. To his credit he has told voters that he does not wish to be governor just because it runs in the family. He grew up in Santa Fe and has firsthand experience watching his father do the job. He is not well known in the state since he has spent many years in the broadcast world both in California and New York. His latest experience is not in government but in the business world. We don’t know what is in his past that might come out during the general election since this is the first public office that he has ran for in New Mexico. Although he is strongly progressive and outspoken on government he has still not been able to harness the support of the Berniecrats because of the fact that he comes from big money. The one advantage that Apodaca has is that he was up early with television spots to help the local voters develop name recognition. His platform is listed on his website;

It is healthy that we have two candidates in the primary since it forces a debate on the issues and how each would approach these issues. No candidate should be given a free pass on developing a stand on issues before they are elected. Both candidates should face repeated debates so that the voters can make an informed decision based on their stand on the issues facing our state.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Me Too or Timesup Movement in New Mexico Politics

My thoughts on this for the week. The me too movement has hit the Democratic Party of New Mexico hard this week. The Chairman resigned because he had not taken claims of misconduct seriously enough. 

I find that in most cases there are two types of men who don’t deal well with this issue. 

Type 1
These are the men that would never dream of sexually harassing a woman. This type wants nothing to do with any type of sexual harassment claims either at home or at work. They feel very uncomfortable with the issue all together to the point where they are unwilling to believe a woman. They totally lack the skills or the ability to help a victim of sexual harassment. They fear being accused of the same type of behavior even though they would never dream of it. What these types of men are guilty of is helping the type 2 men get away with some very wrong actions.

Type 2
These are the men that use sex for power and control. They have not respect for anyone either at home or in the work place. They view all coworkers as objects to be used and abused. They are controlling and manipulative. They have one or all three very problematic character traits which are narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism in the extreme and most often uncontrolled.
Now in politics candidates and leaders in general can show some degree of these types of traits. After all it does take a strong outgoing type of character to put themselves into the public eye. The problem arises when a line is crossed where the individual does not know how to control these behavior traits toward women. Currently women are beginning to stand up and say no more. They are speaking out and calling out the type 2 men and demanding social justice. For far too long these men have harmed women in the work and social areas of our society. The time has finally come where women are no longer willing to accept this behavior. 

We do face the problem of a very few women who see this as a way to force the type 1 men into giving them anything they want. Women must guard against women who abuse this issue for their own gains. 

The approach that will help is education of the type 1 men in how to handle sexual harassment claims in a positive manner. They must learn that a real sexual harassment victim is not looking to claim that all men are out to sexually harass them. These women need support and they need someone who is willing to honestly look at their claims without the fear of doing damage either to themselves or their organization. 

The second part is more difficult because of the legal issues associated with a claim of sexual harassment. Still if organizations are willing to take action then the risk associated with these claims is very much decreased. Organizations must learn that type 2 individuals must be controlled or eliminated not for the victims but for the good of the place where they are working. Not victims but abusers are the ones that are harming these organizations! And society as a whole must hold the abusers and not the victims accountable for their actions.