Renato Costa

MLG looks to squander away NM’s revenue on growing gov’t in budget ask

On Thursday, far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham unveiled her FY25 executive budget recommendation, featuring a massive 9.9% increase in recurring spending, totaling $10.5 billion, calling out-of-control spending “historic – but prudent.”

The executive budget recommendation aims to spend away New Mexico’s record revenue, mainly from oil and gas production, while maintaining reserves at 34.2%. Many argue that such a substantial increase in spending may jeopardize the promised reserve levels, prompting questions about the state’s financial stability.

In the realm of water and natural resources, the budget proposes a $500 million capital appropriation for the Strategic Water Supply from severance tax bonds, a $250 million general fund transfer to the Land of Enchantment Conservation Fund, and $20 million for low-interest loans to communities for carbon emission reduction projects.

For housing and homelessness, the proposal includes $250 million for the New Mexico Housing Trust Fund, $250 million to the NM Finance Authority Opportunity Enterprise Revolving Fund for affordable housing, and $40 million for homelessness initiatives statewide.

Education funding sees allocations of $33 million for expanding universal socialist early pre-kindergarten, a $101.2 million increase to the State Equalization Guarantee Distribution, $58.1 million for structured literacy (including $30 million for a new Structured Literacy Institute), $43.5 million for school meals, and a three percent pay increase ($96 million) for all educators.

In the healthcare sector, the proposal includes $2.15 billion in recurring general funds for the Health Care Authority, $100 million for the Rural Healthcare Delivery Fund, $87.9 million for Medicaid provider rate increases, and $24.7 million to create a new Family Services division — more bureaucracy. 

Public safety allocations comprise $35 million for corrections and law enforcement recruitment statewide, $5 million for the Governor’s Commission on Organized Crime, and $35 million for the Firefighter and EMT Recruitment Fund.

Economic Development & Infrastructure funding includes $100 million to launch the New Mexico Match Fund for federal funding leverage, $25 million for the Local Economic Development Act Program (LEDA), $9.7 million for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP), $5 million for the New Mexico Media Academy, and $1.5 million special funding for the Economic Development Department’s international market reach.

The executive budget also includes a 3% compensation increase for state employees, a further bolstering of the state instead of cuts of unnecessary boards, agencies, divisions, and departments. 

Power The Future’s Larry Behrens commented following the announcement, “With a massive amount of new money delivered from the state’s oil and natural gas workers, Governor Lujan Grisham has another opportunity to give some of that money to families through rebates. New Mexicans are paying 17 percent more for everything over the last three years and deserve to share in the state’s oil and gas revenue windfall. Unfortunately, Governor Lujan Grisham’s budget priority is to take the money and grow more bureaucracy in Santa Fe.”

Vulnerable Vasquez calls in far-left Gov. MLG for last-ditch 2023 fundraising plea

On Saturday, far-left U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, who faces tough reelection odds next November, called in far-left Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to help him rake in last-minute cash ahead of the New Year by appealing to the fringe progressive base.

“Right-wing extremism and petty politics are on the rise, yet Gabe is committed to working across the aisle to vote for common-sense legislation that moves our state/country forward,” wrote Lujan Grisham in a fundraising email, despite Vasquez siding with the far-left on basically everything, including instituting a new land grab in Deming and refusing to vote to help reduce inflation under the Joe Biden regime.

She continued, “Fighting for this amazing state means fighting for progress,” adding, “While his far-right opponent is reliant on extremists like Donald Trump, Mike Johnson, and Kevin McCarthy, we know your support will take him past the finish line and into another term of building progress for New Mexico and America.”

It is unclear why the governor is name-dropping McCarthy, who just quit Congress, but it appears to be a way to fluff up the fringe progressive base in the attempt to drum up cash ahead of 2024. Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is running again with the support of all the U.S. House GOP leadership.

Lujan Grisham is woefully unpopular, topping the rankings as one of the least popular governors in America. Those numbers surely worsened when she unilaterally attempted to snatch Bernalillo County and Albuquerque residents’ gun rights via executive order, which a Democrat-appointed judge slapped down.

Now, Vasquez heavily relying on the far-left governor to help him rake in some last-ditch donations appears to be a move toward the unconstitutional governor and her extreme positions on anything from abortion to energy policy.

New Mexico’s $49 billion investment portfolio just got a new manager

The State Investment Council’s quest for a new state investment officer in New Mexico concluded without the need for an out-of-state search, as Jon Clark, an Albuquerque native and Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s current deputy secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, emerged as the chosen candidate. He will oversee $49 billion in savings and trust accounts for the state.

Clark, who has been serving as the acting secretary following the departure of Alicia J. Keyes earlier this year, has been offered the prestigious position with an annual salary of $285,000, per the Santa Fe New Mexican. This marks a decrease of approximately $34,000 compared to the previous state investment officer, Steve Moise, who retired in October after a remarkable 13-year tenure.

Jon Clark via Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office: https://web.archive.org/web/20231228010405/https://www.governor.state.nm.us/our-leadership/economic-development-department/

While there were discussions about the possibility of increasing the salary to attract a qualified replacement, the State Investment Council, chaired by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, did not delve into this issue during a special meeting held on Wednesday.

The council, in a unanimous 8-0 vote, Jon Clark was approved as the next state investment officer, contingent upon the finalization of all administrative processes associated with the hiring requirements for the state of New Mexico.

Following an executive session, council members provided limited comments, indicating that their decision had been predetermined. Catherine Allen, chair of the council’s governance committee, expressed excitement about the appointment, stating, “We’re very excited about the new state investment officer and the process that we used to get them.”

Acknowledging the efforts of Hudepohl and Associates, an Ohio-based executive search firm, Allen extended gratitude for finding “such great candidates” for the position. Clark, among 86 applicants, stood out as one of the 25 individuals meeting the minimum qualifications. After interviewing six candidates, the council narrowed the list down to two finalists, ultimately selecting Clark for the role.

In his cover letter, Clark emphasized his unique qualifications, noting his finance degree and experience in leading venture capital investments. He highlighted his role as Chief Economist for the Legislative Finance Committee, asserting that the position doesn’t demand a traditional investment background but rather requires someone skilled in managerial decision-making with sufficient understanding of the investment landscape.

The next steps include clarifying who will assume leadership at the Economic Development Department if Clark accepts the offered position.

NM anti-gun group flexes breaking the law it advocated to enact

In a post made on X, formerly Twitter, the anti-gun group New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence (NMPGV), run by Democrats’ anti-gun darling Miranda Viscoli, announced in so many words that it was breaking the law — then kept on digging itself in a hole when challenged.

“Pictured are unwanted firearms from one household in Farmington, NM.  Our gun buyback was [canceled] by the City, but local residents asked us to show up anyway. So, we spent today dismantling guns house by house,” wrote the group, with a photo accompanying the post. The post immediately sparked a fierce response.

“The @NMStatePolice should investigate a private party going door to door and sawing people’s guns in half without doing a background check as required for a transfer in New Mexico.  The @FBI and @ATFHQ (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) should also look into this since a private group does NOT have the ability to check NCIC to see if they are now in possession of a stolen firearm. So many crimes committed by this anti-gun group” posted state Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park).

In 2019, the state Legislature passed S.B. 8, which Viscoli advocated in support of on behalf of her group. The group holds ineffective gun “buybacks,” which pay people for willingly giving up to the group, which then turns the firearms into gardening tools.

Following its enactment, the group posted on then-Twitter, “@NMPGVnow thanks @GovMLG for signing the background check bill  into law! She is the first Governor in the history of New Mexico to have the courage to say NO WAY to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby.” 

“Anti gun group @NMPGVnow takes advantage of the ability to transfer/aquire firearms without a background check to destroy them, posts publicly about it, without even a hint of irony,” wrote the pro-gun account Mrgunsgear. 

NMPVG clapped back at the account, writing, “There was no transfer of firearms but keep trying.” 

State Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo) wrote to NMPVG, “Just so you understand, the passing of the firearm from one party (them) to another (you) = a TRANSFER!”

S.B. 8, however, explicitly notes, “Unlawful sale of a firearm without a background check consists of the sale of a firearm without conducting a federal instant background check.” It adds further that “‘sale’ means the delivery or passing of ownership, possession or control of a firearm for a fee or other consideration, but does not include temporary possession or control of a firearm provided to a customer by the proprietor of a licensed business in the conduct of that business.” Since NMPVG is not an FFL or licensed business, it is not in compliance with the law enacted by S.B. 8.

New Mexico Shooting Sports Association (NMSSA) wrote to NMPVG, “Shoutout to 

@NMPGVnow for joining forces with the ‘rogue sheriffs’ and ‘bad-faith critics’ by refusing to comply with laws criminalizing private firearm transfers in NM,” referencing a social media post by Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham who lambasted many of the state’s sheriffs for refusing to enforce the anti-gun law.

Again, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence argued, “There was no transfer of firearms? Dismantling a gun onsite is not a transfer.”

To Rep. Lord’s post, NMPVG wrote, “We have been doing this for years. Often, police give people our phone number when they want to turn in an unwanted firearm. This doesn’t violate any background check laws as there is no transfer of firearms.  We simply dismantle them.  All that is left is wood and metal.” 

Rep. Block responded, “So, you’ve been breaking the law for years?”

NMPVG continued to dig in on its post, with critics panning the group’s absurd flex on social media, which appeared to show it flagrantly breaking the law that its leadership fervently supported passing in 2019.

“Congratulations on committing several felonies,” one X user wrote, while another chimed in, “Look at all those perfectly good firearms that we’re never once used in a crime and never would have been.”

Dems’ radical anti-gun agenda sparks fury during testy legislative hearing

On Tuesday in Santa Fe, the New Mexico Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee met to discuss committee endorsements of legislation. Democratic members voted along party lines to endorse a series of what State Representative John Block (R-Alamogordo) decried via X as “extremist anti-gun bills.” 

The proposed Democrat anti-gun legislation includes a 14-day waiting period for all gun purchases and a ban on carrying firearms, whether concealed or open, within 100 feet of a polling place. Notably, there are no carveouts for residences, vehicles, concealed carry permit holders, or businesses within the specified vicinity.

Several other firearm-related bills were brought to the table during the committee deliberations, sparking heated debate from Block against the measures. Among these proposals were measures to ban any firearm with a magazine capacity exceeding ten rounds.

State Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) said during the committee that she would bring a bill forward that mirrors a federal proposal introduced by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, dubbed the “GOSAFE Act.” Additionally, the age limit for all gun purchases would be raised to 21 under one of the bills.

Critics, including Rep. Block, voiced their concerns about the implications of these measures, which they argue infringe upon Second Amendment rights. Block accused the Democrats, particularly those on the far left, of mounting a relentless assault on “our inalienable rights.” The three Republican voting members present for the committee, Reps. Andrea Reeb of Clovis, Alan Martinez of Bernalillo, and Bill Rehm of Albuquerque opposed the anti-gun measures that were put for an endorsement vote.

One of the more contentious proposals targets firearms manufacturers, seeking to expose them to a wave of lawsuits and penalties. Block and others opposing the measure argue that this approach unfairly singles out an industry that plays a critical role in the economy while potentially crippling it with legal challenges. It also includes vague language targeting “[m]ultiple parties acting in concert to manufacture, advertise, distribute or offer for sale a firearm, destructive device, firearm part or firearm accessory, which would violate the laws of New Mexico or the United States,” without “in concert” defined nor carveouts for payment processors and others who would unknowingly be implicated by the legislation. 

The committee session highlighted deep ideological divisions over gun control, with far-left Democrats supporting them while constitutional Republicans see them as direct threats to inalienable rights. In a passionate response, Block vowed to resist the proposed bills vehemently, promising to “fight them [Democrats] on this tooth and nail.”

As these bills move through the legislative process, it remains to be seen how the debate will unfold and whether compromises can be reached to address the concerns raised by opponents. The issue is likely to continue generating heated discussions as New Mexico navigates the complex intersection of individual rights and public safety.

Could the ‘First Manny’ secretly be MAGA?

A recent Thanksgiving post by far-left Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham could give New Mexicans a clue of who the first gentleman, or as Lujan Grisham calls him, the “First Manny” (Manny Cordova) really is.

Lujan Grisham posted via X on Black Friday, “I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the First Manny, my children and grandchildren. Let the Christmas season begin!” Along with the post was a photo of her and some family members, including Cordova, who stood to her right.

The first gentleman was wearing a distinctive Navy and white sweater, and the photo appears to have been altered to remove the “Turnberry Scotland” logo from the garment in the photograph.

On the right arm of the sweater in the photograph, however, the text “Glenmuir 1891” can be seen stitched in the fabric. 

The sweater design is sold at the official Trump store, which is run by the 45th President Donald Trump’s family, and the sweater is offered online for sale, which promotes the Trump Turnberry Hotel and Resort. Similar sweaters are also sold at the Glenmuir store.

Screenshot of the Turnberry Scotland sweater via the Trump Store. Accessed Nov. 24, 2023: https://www.trumpstore.com/product/saltire-zip-neck-sweater/

The subtle wearing of the Trump brand by the first gentleman is noteworthy, as is the apparent digital altering of the photo to remove the logo, as Lujan Grisham is rabidly anti-Trump.

The extreme far-left Democrat has attacked Trump’s record on the pandemic and immigration, calling him a “failure” among many other cheap shots, potentially to the chagrin of the now-first gentleman. 

Lujan Grisham and Cordova were married last May at a Washington, D.C. ceremony officiated by Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris.

According to analyses of Mr. Cordova’s past voting history and likely party indicators, although he is registered as a Democrat at the governor’s mansion, he is calculated to be a “weak Republican,” another indicator the first gentleman could be more conservative than he may seem.

Could the “First Manny” secretly be a Trump supporter? The evidence shows he may not be as far-left as his wife, the governor.

Maryland-dwelling Sen. Heinrich declares ‘momentous day’ in most elitist flex yet

Far-left U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich bragged on Saturday from his official government account about his New Mexico house being “100% electrified,” meaning he has stripped out all gas-using appliances to replace them with electricity, which is produced by 63.9 percent fossil fuels, including oil, gas, and coal.

The Democrat hailed the accomplishment as “a momentous day in our household.”

He said in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, “So, my HVAC unit died, so we went ahead and replaced it with a whole-home heat pump, and that allows us to pull out the gas furnace, and we’ve got that done now. So, a bit of a momentous day today. We are officially 100% electrified and off [the] gas in the house, so I’m gonna turn off the meter.”

According to This Old House, “Heat pumps cost more than other HVAC units, ranging from $2,000–$20,000 including installation. Here are more details about each common type of heat pump: Air-source ($4,500–$8,000): Air-source heat pumps are the most common. They absorb heat energy by pulling in the air from outside your home.”

The average New Mexican, unlike Heinric, who primarily lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, does not have $20,000 to splurge on such a heat pump unit. 

The far-left senator has previously bragged about installing other electric appliances in his home, claiming they will save the planet while they cost more for the average consumer, who does not have Heinrich’s means to supplant traditional appliances for electric-only ones unnecessarily.

He supports banning gas stoves and has pushed for an extremist “electrify everything” agenda.

Despite his public opposition to using oil, gas, and coal products, he is happy to use propane, as he shared in a previous post, proving utter hypocrisy. It is unclear if Heinrich only rides in electric Ubers/Lyfts or drives only an electric vehicle. It is clear, however, that Heinrich flies on airplanes the few times he travels to New Mexico.

AG Torrez wants to amp up anti-gun law, further infringe on constitutional rights

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced on Wednesday that he wants the Legislature to strengthen the state’s anti-gun red flag law, citing an incident near a Santa Fe elementary school. The incident involved a man near César Chávez Elementary School who was seen wearing camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest, and carrying multiple magazines of ammunition.

Torrez highlighted the response of the Santa Fe Police Department to the potential threat, emphasizing the man’s concerning history of shooting people with BB guns, depression, drug use, and a strong dislike for law enforcement. Despite attempts to obtain an extreme risk firearm protection order from the First Judicial District Court, the request was initially granted temporarily but later denied by District Judge Sylvia LaMar. The judge ruled that the petition failed to meet statutory requirements because the reporting party was a law enforcement officer and not a family member or close associate.

The red flag law, established in 2020, aims to identify mentally unstable individuals who own firearms and may pose a risk to themselves or others. However, the debate revolves around the language concerning who can be a reporting party and petition the court for a protection order. Torrez criticized the interpretation discrepancies among district judges despite an opinion issued by the Attorney General’s Office in 2021, clarifying that law enforcement officials can act as reporting parties.

Torrez’s office has filed a petition with the New Mexico Court of Appeals to overturn the District Court’s ruling. He emphasized the importance of addressing gaps in the law to prevent future tragedies, pointing to the need for law enforcement officials to be proactive in reporting potential threats.

In response to the incident and the challenges faced in the legal process, lawmakers, including Democrat Rep. Joy Garratt, plan to introduce revisions to the law during the upcoming legislative session in January. Garratt emphasized the value of police officers as reporting parties and the intention to include an emergency clause in the law to address immediacy.

Torrez outlined a plan for training law enforcement officials to be proactive in reporting individuals, eliminating the 48-hour waiting period for voluntary firearm removal from dangerous individuals, and mandating courts to notify law enforcement when someone with firearms is involuntarily committed or deemed unfit for trial due to mental incompetence.

While Torrez claimed there is urgency in closing supposed gaps in the law, the initial “red flag” legislation and any subsequent changes are an infringement upon constitutional rights to due process. 

Previously, Torrez refused to defend Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional order banning all gun possession in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, calling it “unconstitutional,” but now supports strengthening unconstitutional proposals to usurp New Mexicans’ constitutional rights.

Vasquez has tantrum over TX border barrier, demands Gov. Abbott tear it down

Far-left Democrat U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, a supporter of open borders and vehement critic of a border barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, is calling for the removal of the razor wire fence that the Texas National Guard has installed on the banks of the Rio Grande along the border with New Mexico. 

The fence is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from entering Texas, which has its own barriers protecting it from Mexico. The move is meant to stop criminal aliens from entering the U.S. illegally through Mexico and jumping into Texas illegally. In a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Vasquez criticized the construction of the fence and labeled it an “unconstitutional barrier” between the two states.

Vasquez argued that the fence violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the right to travel within the United States, which the Fourteenth Amendment protects. He contended that this amendment allows American citizens to travel freely between states and that the fence restricts this freedom.

He criticized the lack of consultation with New Mexico officials and the International Boundary and Water Commission, which is responsible for applying boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico.

While the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is monitoring the situation and is prepared to take action if necessary, it noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government has exclusive authority over immigration enforcement.

The Texas Military Department stated that the Texas National Guard has fortified the border between Texas and New Mexico with 18 miles of concertina wire to prevent migrants from entering New Mexico illegally. This move has sparked opposing views from New Mexico’s Democratic and Republican parties.

The New Mexico Democratic Party and the Texas Democratic Party Chair Jessica Velasquez called for the immediate removal of the razor wire fence, citing environmental damage, community division, and harm to vulnerable illegal aliens. 

In contrast, the New Mexico Republican Party Chairman and former Congressman Steve Pearce criticized Democrats for wanting to remove any barrier along the southern border, especially when threats like fentanyl, cartels, human traffickers, and individuals on terror watchlists cross the open border daily.

Vasquez and Abbott have divergent views on how to address immigration on the southern border, with Vasquez accusing Abbott of approaching the issue in a “very political way” and taking measures that harm the region’s unity.

Back in 2018, Vasquez described the border crisis as a “non-existent threat” and criticized then-President Donald Trump’s border security efforts as “ill-informed” and “in bad taste.”

In 2020, he went further, calling for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claiming that the agency had “no regard for humanity.” 

Throughout 2021, Vasquez repeatedly voiced his intention to dismantle Trump’s border wall, going so far as to state, “Tear what’s left of it down” and “Let’s tear it down.” 

He went on to label the border wall as the product of a “crooked, racist administration” and commended Joe Biden for halting its construction, characterizing it as a “racist, environmentally destructive, massive waste of money” and a “glorification of xenophobia.

Gabe Vasquez walks the tightrope on border security

Amidst the ongoing border crisis and dwindling approval ratings for Joe Biden’s immigration policies, U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, whose district encompasses all of New Mexico’s southern border, has taken a 180-degree flip in his approach to border security. This shift is raising eyebrows among political observers and opponents who point to his earlier border rhetoric as inflammatory and extreme.

Vasquez is now advocating for an increase in the number of border agents, emphasizing the need for cross-border collaboration, and participating in roundtable discussions. This marked change in his stance on border security stands in stark contrast to his previous positions.

Biden’s approval rating on the immigration crisis is a meager 26 percent. After vehemently claiming he would never build any more border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, as his predecessor did, he is now ordering the construction of 20 miles of barrier in Texas — a complete flip-flop on the policy.

Back in 2018, Vasquez described the border crisis as a “non-existent threat” and criticized then-President Donald Trump’s border security efforts as “ill-informed” and “in bad taste.”

In 2020, he went further, calling for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), claiming that the agency had “no regard for humanity.” 

Throughout 2021, Vasquez repeatedly voiced his intention to dismantle Trump’s border wall, going so far as to state, “Tear what’s left of it down” and “Let’s tear it down.” 

He went on to label the border wall as the product of a “crooked, racist administration” and commended Joe Biden for halting its construction, characterizing it as a “racist, environmentally destructive, massive waste of money” and a “glorification of xenophobia.”

This shifting stance has raised concerns among those who view it as part of a pattern of behavior. Vasquez previously faced criticism for deleting progressive tweets to create a more moderate image in 2021.

These shifts have led to questions about the sincerity of Vasquez’s positions and his credibility among voters. Critics argue that his tendency to change his rhetoric based on political expediency raises doubts about his commitment to the people of New Mexico.

In response to these allegations, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokeswoman, Delanie Bomar, emphasized, “Gabe Vasquez is an extremist who adjusts his rhetoric for whatever is politically beneficial for him in the moment. Voters cannot trust Gabe Vasquez to put New Mexico first.”

The first-term Democrat faces fierce opposition from GOP former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, who is polling ahead of the incumbent.

Vasquez’s evolving stance on border security and his fluctuating political rhetoric reflect the broader debate surrounding border policies and immigration issues in the United States. As the border crisis continues to be a focal point in national discussions, Vasquez’s lack of a clear stance on the border leaves voters in the Second Congressional District guessing. 

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