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Thousands of Texans are flocking to New Mexico for this specific reason

Data from the 2022 U.S. Census highlight that the allure of New Mexico is drawing a significant number of Texans, according to Business Insider. The statistics reveal an impressive migration trend, with nearly 17,000 individuals relocating from Texas to New Mexico in the span of just one year, from 2021 to 2022. This movement marks Texas as the leading contributor to New Mexico’s population influx.

Among the new residents are Don and Patti Crook, who decided to leave Texas behind, driven in part by the burden of substantial property taxes. “People are getting priced out of their homes due to super high property taxes,” Don Crook expressed in a discussion with the Albuquerque Journal.

The financial strain of these taxes is not negligible, with Texas being ranked as having the seventh highest average property tax rate in the country at 1.63%, a figure reported by ABC13, an ABC News affiliate in Houston. In contrast, New Mexico offers a more appealing rate at 0.74%.

RDNE Stock project, Pexels.

Despite the absence of a state income tax and relatively moderate home prices in Texas, the high property taxes are a significant factor in many people’s decision to move. Greg Brown, a former Texas resident of 35 years, shared his sentiment with the Journal, stating, “New Mexico just has more of that family feel to it. New Mexico is the Texas that I grew up with.” This comment underscores the cultural and community aspects that also influence the migration trend.

Interestingly, despite the notable exodus to New Mexico, Texas continues to attract a substantial number of new residents, maintaining its position as the leader in population growth within the United States. As reported by Business Insider, this trend is particularly evident among unmarried millennials who opt for renting, a demographic for whom property taxes may not be an immediate concern.

The movement of Texans to New Mexico is multifaceted, influenced by economic factors such as property taxes and the search for a community that resonates more closely with individual values and lifestyles. This migration pattern reflects broader trends in domestic mobility, where economic considerations are balanced against personal and community values.

U.S. attorney announces federal charges against Officer Hare’s suspected killer

On Friday, federal charges were formally announced against a man from South Carolina in connection with the fatal shooting of New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare. The announcement came during a press conference organized by the United States Attorney’s Office and the New Mexico Department of Justice, held outside the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque.

The accused, 32-year-old Jaremy Smith of Marion, South Carolina, faces severe allegations, including carjacking that resulted in death and using a firearm during a violent crime. Smith is slated for his initial court appearance in Albuquerque on Friday afternoon.

The incident traces back to the early hours of March 15, when Officer Hare responded to assist a motorist on I-40. It was during this encounter that Smith, after a brief interaction with Hare about a flat tire, allegedly opened fire on the officer. Smith is then accused of commandeering Hare’s patrol vehicle, with Hare inside, and fleeing the scene. The vehicle was later found crashed, and Hare was discovered with fatal gunshot wounds.

Following the incident, a manhunt for Smith ensued, culminating in his capture in Bernalillo County on Sunday after a reported sighting at a local gas station led to a foot chase and an exchange of gunfire with deputies.

Moreover, Smith is implicated in another case in South Carolina concerning a missing paramedic, Phonesia Machado-Fore, whose body was later found. The vehicle Smith was driving in New Mexico was linked to Machado-Fore, adding a layer of complexity to his criminal profile, which spans multiple states.

At the press conference, U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez addressed inquiries about the possibility of seeking the death penalty, telling reporters, “so the death penalty is a decision that’s held by the Attorney General of the United States. Whether and how we get to that eventual determination is internal to our office. But once that determination is made, the public will know.”

Meanwhile, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez indicated that state charges against Smith are being withheld pending the conclusion of the federal case, after which Smith will face murder charges in state court.

Mexican president praises violent bandit Pancho Villa for murdering 18 New Mexicans

In a recent statement, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador commended the actions of Francisco “Pancho” Villa, a key figure in the Mexican Revolution, for his 1916 incursion into Columbus, New Mexico, which resulted in the deaths of 18 Americans. López Obrador described Villa’s raid as a “daring feat” and suggested that it should be acknowledged for preventing what Villa viewed as betrayals. 

The Mexican leader’s remarks have brought attention to a historical event that has often been overshadowed by Villa’s broader contributions to Mexico’s domestic revolution against Porfirio Diaz’s dictatorship.

López Obrador’s reference to the Columbus attack as a form of resistance against imperialism, quoting historian Pedro Salmerón, adds a layer of complexity to the narrative surrounding Villa’s legacy. This perspective aligns with López Obrador’s previous expressions of admiration for Salmerón despite controversies surrounding the historian’s proposed ambassadorship to Panama, which was ultimately rejected due to allegations against him.

The attack on Columbus, executed by Villa and his forces, involved looting and setting ablaze homes and businesses, leading to casualties among both the local populace and U.S. military personnel stationed there. This act of aggression prompted President Woodrow Wilson to launch a military expedition into Mexico to apprehend Villa, an endeavor that ultimately proved unsuccessful.

The motivations behind Villa’s attack on Columbus have been a subject of historical debate, with some attributing it to a sense of betrayal by the U.S. government. Villa, expecting support from President Wilson, felt sidelined when the U.S. recognized the leadership of Venustiano Carranza, another revolutionary figure. Additionally, grievances against an American arms dealer, who allegedly supplied Villa with faulty ammunition, have been cited as contributing factors to Villa’s decision to strike.

President López Obrador’s recent comments highlight the enduring complexities of historical figures like Villa, whose actions have been interpreted in various lights, from national heroes to controversial figures. The acknowledgment of Villa’s attack on U.S. soil by the Mexican president underscores the evolving narrative of Mexico’s revolutionary history and its leaders’ roles in shaping the nation’s identity.

ACLU claims Texas is ‘dangerous,’ issues travel warning for New Mexicans

The ACLU has issued a panicked travel advisory for New Mexicans traveling to Texas, painting the state’s new laws directed at stemming illegal immigration as a dire threat to civil and constitutional rights. 

This move by the ACLU chapters from New Mexico to Arizona and even San Diego and Imperial Counties in California, has been seen by some as an exaggerated attempt to stir up concern and spread fear over measures that are yet to take effect until 2024.

The advisory warns of “the threat of civil and constitutional rights violations” for those traveling in Texas, suggesting a landscape fraught with danger merely for crossing state lines. It claims that the laws signed by Governor Greg Abbott, part of Texas’ Operation Lone Star, are a continuation of what it calls “extremist anti-immigrant actions,” including the use of “dangerous concertina wire and a deadly buoy barrier” along the border to stop the flow of illegal border crossers.

The ACLU erroneously claims that a new texas law, S.B. 4, “authorizes untrained police officers to engage in immigration enforcement,” creating a so-called “unconstitutional process” where individuals might be detained for merely being suspected of unauthorized entry into Texas. 

The ACLU goes as far as to say that individuals could face up to 20 years in prison under these new measures, a claim that has been criticized as fear mongering by those who view the laws as necessary steps toward securing the border and upholding the law.

Moreover, the advisory melodramatically states that “this law, when implemented, poses a risk to any person while in Texas,” implying that anyone, regardless of their reason for being in the state, could be ensnared by these laws. 

The advisory also touches on the issue of “human smuggling,” with the ACLU decrying the new laws for imposing “extreme mandatory minimums” that are “far out of proportion relative to the alleged crime involved.” It warns of a “risk for people while in Texas,” especially those traveling with illegal immigrants, further contributing to the portrayal of Texas as a state to be approached with extreme caution.

While the ACLU advises travelers on how to reduce their risk and assert their rights when stopped by law enforcement, the overarching tone of the advisory attempts to fan the flames of a false narrative to push for open borders in the United States. 

NM braces for ‘most violent wave’ of illegal immigration after SCOTUS ruling

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing Texas to enforce its S.B. 4, which allows law enforcement to arrest suspected illegal border crossers

This decision represents a notable albeit provisional victory for Texas in its efforts to manage unauthorized immigration.

This development follows a temporary injunction against the law, sought by the Biden administration, which has been challenging the legality of the measure, referred to as Senate Bill 4, introduced by Governor Greg Abbott in December. The administration’s lawsuit contends that the law encroaches on the federal government’s exclusive domain over immigration matters, reminiscent of a previous legal challenge to an Arizona immigration law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the decision, viewing it as a triumph over the Biden Administration’s opposition and a defense of the state’s sovereignty. The Supreme Court’s decision focused on the procedural aspect of lifting a prior suspension by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rather than the substantive legal questions at the heart of the case. Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion, emphasized the importance of allowing the appeals court to take the lead in such matters.

The legal saga is set to continue in the Fifth Circuit, which may revisit its decision, potentially leading to another round of Supreme Court deliberations. Governor Abbott sees this latest ruling as a positive step, albeit one within a broader legal and political battle over border security and immigration policy.

However, while the Supreme Court decision may be a victory for Texas, New Mexico will likely become the new epicenter for criminal trespass into the country through its over 50 miles of wide-open border that is not protected by any type of barrier.

State Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) said after the decision via X, “Brace for the most violent wave of illegal immigration our state has ever seen after this Supreme Court ruling unless our state takes action. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham must immediately order a state of emergency due to the border crisis, direct the New Mexico National Guard to send personnel to assist agents at the border, and direct the New Mexico State Police to immediately begin arresting suspected illegal border crossers.”

This ongoing dispute is part of a series of confrontations between Texas and the federal government regarding border management strategies, including previous legal actions related to physical barriers on the Rio Grande and access restrictions to key crossing points. The issue of border security remains a pivotal topic in the political landscape, especially in the lead-up to the 2024 elections, with both President Biden and former President Trump articulating their stances during visits to Texas.

GoFundMe launched for fallen Officer Justin Hare’s family, services announced

New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare, 35, was murdered by suspected killer Jaremy Smith on Friday morning after Hare began to conduct a welfare check related to a vehicle stopped on the shoulder of Interstate 40, near mile marker 320 close to Tucumcari. The cop killer was on the run until Sunday, when Smith was finally apprehended in Albuquerque.

Tiffany Martinez, a friend of the family, is organizing a GoFundMe page for Hare’s children and girlfriend, Diazarre Quintana. 

“Officer Hare put on his uniform like any other day. Kissed her goodbye and I’ll see you after work. Only this time, she nor his children would see him at the end of his shift. Because of the evil act of a criminal, Daiz, and his 3 children will never hug and kiss him before the start or end of his shifts again. Instead, she got the knock on the door that no spouse ever wishes to receive. At that moment their lives were forever changed,” wrote Martinez.

“Justin, was an exceptional Officer but an even better provider, partner and father. Daiz was a stay at home mom and has been able to do so since the birth of their first child. She is currently pregnant with their third child, and overcome with grief and the unknown of what the future will bring,” she noted.

So far, the fundraiser has already grown to $77,204 of the $100,000 goal, with 837 donations as of 9:48 a.m. on Tuesday.

Officer Hare’s funeral services have also been announced. On Wednesday, March 27, 2024, funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m. at Legacy Church in Albuquerque: 7201 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87121.

To find Officer Hare’s GoFundMe page, click here.

NM high court shuts down utility’s $5M rate hike to comply with ETA

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled on a contentious matter concerning Southwestern Public Service Co.’s proposal to impose an additional charge on its customers, aiming to garner over $5 million in a span of three years. 

This proposed charge, known as a rate rider, was intended to offset the costs associated with augmenting the utility’s renewable energy output as a shift from traditional fossil fuel sources, mandated by the state’s Green New Deal, also known as the Energy Transition Act (ETA).

In New Mexico, the fully Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham-appointed Public Regulation Commission (PRC) oversees electricity tariffs. In 2021, the Southwestern Public Service Co. approached the PRC with a request to introduce this rate rider, positioning it as a necessary step toward fulfilling the state’s mandate for increased renewable energy production. 

New Mexico’s legislative framework mandates a significant push toward so-called “renewable” energy, setting strict guidelines for utilities to follow.

However, the PRC turned down this request, citing a need for concrete evidence from Southwestern Public Service Co. regarding their specific plans to invest in or develop new renewable energy projects with the proceeds from the proposed rate hike.

The state’s highest court has now affirmed the PRC’s decision, providing clarity on the issue. The court’s judgment underscored that the legislation encouraging the shift toward renewable energy was designed to promote the actual development and acquisition of clean energy resources. 

The justices pointed out that the utility company’s proposal failed to demonstrate how it would contribute to expanding renewable energy infrastructure, thus falling short of the legislative intent behind financial incentives for a “clean” energy transition. 

With utilities unable to increase rates for costly new eco-leftist mandates, it is unclear what utilities will be forced to do if no rate hikes are granted due to the apparent steep requirements mandated by the Democrat-run state.

See what grade New Mexico gets for its tax burden

Each state in the U.S. has its unique approach to taxation, significantly influencing residents’ financial health. The increasing trend of remote work has further fueled the discussion around the impact of state taxes, as individuals are no longer bound to live near their workplaces.

To determine the tax efficiency across the U.S., MoneyGeek undertook a comprehensive study, leveraging data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. This research culminated in a grading system ranging from “A” for the most tax-efficient states to “F” for those with the heaviest tax burdens, considering sales, income, and property taxes.

The findings revealed that Nevada stands out as the state with the highest tax efficiency, with residents facing an average tax bill of $2,949. In stark contrast, Illinois emerged as the least tax-efficient, where the average family tax bill soars to $12,472 annually.

The disparity in tax burdens is stark, with a typical middle-class family in Illinois shouldering $9,524 more in taxes annually compared to a family in Nevada.

The study also linked tax efficiency to population trends, noting that states with an “A” rating in tax-friendliness saw a population growth of 0.9%, while those rated “F” experienced negligible growth. Florida, in particular, enjoyed a substantial 2.1% population increase, the highest nationwide, coinciding with its “A” tax-friendliness rating. Conversely, New York, with a “D” rating, witnessed the most significant population decline at -0.8%.

New Mexico has a “C” rating, with the 20th-highest tax burden. MoneyGeek notes that the estimated taxes are $6,808, with a 7.1% tax burden.

In an in-depth look at the tax landscape, MoneyGeek’s analysis identified the ten most and least tax-friendly states. The study defined a typical middle-class family as a married couple with one dependent, earning the median national income and owning a median-valued home. This benchmark family found Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming, Tennessee, and Washington to be the most tax-efficient states. Notably, all “A”-rated states, except Arizona, benefit from having no state income tax, a trait shared by South Dakota and Texas, which both received a “B” rating. In these tax-friendly states, taxes account for merely 5% of a typical household’s income.

Conversely, the least tax-friendly states impose taxes that constitute 11% of a typical family’s income. Illinois, the lowest-ranked state, sees taxes consuming an astonishing 13% of household income. Most of the bottom ten states are situated in the Northeast or Midwest, with Oregon being the only exception.

PNM shareholders get some good news

Albuquerque-based PNM Resources, Inc., which is one of the New Mexico companies on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: PNM), has announced that shareholders will continue to receive the increased dividend payment of $0.3875, which was first instituted on February 16th. This enhancement from last year’s dividend positions the yield at 3.7%, aligning with the industry’s average. The continued enhanced dividend is payable on May 10, 2024, to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 26, 2024.

In Simply Wall Street’s December analysis of PNM Resources, it was noted, “PNM Resources’ Earnings Easily Cover The Distributions.” Despite the appealing dividend yield, it’s crucial to evaluate the sustainability of such distributions. The previous dividend consumed a significant portion of the company’s free cash flows, compounded by a scarcity of free cash flows, which could indicate potential long-term risks.

According to the outlet, EPS growth is anticipated to be 74.3% over the coming year. If the dividend trajectory remains consistent with recent trends, Simply Wall Street estimates the payout ratio to be around 52%, which suggests a sustainable model.

Reviewing PNM Resources’ dividend history reveals a commendable consistency in payments. Since 2013, the annual dividend has grown from $0.66 to the current $1.55, marking an average annual increase of 8.9%. This steady growth, without significant reductions, enhances shareholder value.

However, investors hoping for continued dividend growth might need to temper their expectations. Despite the company’s earnings growing at 11% per year over the past five years, a high payout ratio could potentially limit future growth opportunities.

In conclusion, while the increase in PNM Resources’ dividend is welcome, investors should proceed with caution. The stability of past payments is a positive sign, yet the high payout ratio raises concerns about future growth and sustainability. 

The latest PNM stock traded at $36.70 per share as of 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. Year-over-year, PNM Resources fell from a stock price of $48.66, possibly due to the international company Avangrid backing out of a merger with the company. 

This article is not meant to provide investing advice but rather to report on PNM’s newly announced dividend.

Officer Justin Hare’s murder suspect apprehended in ABQ

Early on the morning of Sunday, March 17, 2024, we shared the news that Jaremy Smith, the individual accused of fatally shooting New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare and being a key figure in the investigation into the death of Phonesia Machado-Fore, a paramedic from South Carolina, was apprehended.

Sources, who chose to remain anonymous, have indicated that Smith was wounded by gunfire from deputies in Bernalillo County, per ABQ Raw. Although the New Mexico State Police were observed escorting the ambulance headed to UNMH, the specifics of Smith’s current health status remain undisclosed.

The vicinity of Anderson Hill and Unser is presently swarmed by law enforcement, leading to traffic advisories for motorists to steer clear of this area.

In a subsequent update at 9:30 AM, the New Mexico State Police confirmed that Jaremy Smith was captured following a car chase that culminated in an exchange of gunfire with deputies from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

The Multi-Agency Task Force has launched an inquiry into the incident involving the deputies’ use of firearms. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that none of their deputies sustained injuries during the incident.

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