Max Coll, former state representative, dies at age 82

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Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:11 am, Tue Apr 1, 2014.

Max Coll, who began his career in the state Legislature as a Roswell conservative and ended it as a Santa Fe liberal, has died.

State Sen. Peter Wirth of Santa Fe, who succeeded Coll in the House of Representatives 10 years ago, said Coll had a stroke last week and died Thursday. He was 82.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Joseph Carraro posted at 2:32 pm on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    jjcwriter Posts: 1

    Respect. I can’t think of another legislator that word describes more. His contributions to the State of New Mexico may not be as evident as they should be, because he never bagged about them and just got things done for the good of the State. And he told it like it was whether you wanted to hear it or not, and I always gained something whenever I crossed paths with him.

  • Michael Welsh posted at 12:11 pm on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    michael1 Posts: 6

    I interviewed Max Coll 30 years ago for a book on the ABQ District of the Army Engineers. He was interested in environmental issues--one reason that he switched parties in the 80s. The SFNM story doesn't talk about that aspect of his work, but it does deserve some attention, as another blogger notes below.

  • Alfred Padilla posted at 8:14 am on Sat, Mar 29, 2014.

    Xenoace32 Posts: 341

    My condolences to the Coll family.

  • Denise Fort posted at 12:55 pm on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    Denise Fort Posts: 10

    Max was a wonderful legislator: courageous, but able to work with a wide range of people. He steadfastly protected the environment in his committee positions, and polluters often didn't know what had happened until it was too late. And what a boater!

  • Steve Salazar posted at 10:40 am on Fri, Mar 28, 2014.

    Steve Salazar Posts: 878

    Shifting to Democrat was a good move, if you want to get elected in Santa Fe.

    That said, he represented the area very well, he will be missed. Rest in Peace.


Key issues facing lawmakers


Backdrop: New Mexico gained only 1,700 jobs during the past year ending in November. That's a growth rate of 0.2 percent and the lowest in the region. New Mexcio's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November compared with 6.7 percent a year earlier.

Proposals: Gov. Susana Martinez proposed expanding programs that can help bring nurses, dentists and other medical providers to rural areas. She also wants to provide $7.5 million for an endowment fund to attract top porfessors and researchers at colleges and universities. The governor recommends broadening tax incentivies to encourage startup companies as well as research and development. Democrats are pushing to increase the stat's minimum wage, which has been $7.50 an hour since 2009. Some lawmakers want automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.


Backdrop: The current state budget is $5.9 billion, and revenues are expected to reach nearly $6.2 billion in the fiscal year starting in July. That provides about $239 million in "new money" for lawmakers and the governor for budget increases and to offset tax cuts. The state has cash reserves of more than $500 million, but that could shrink because of accounting discrepancies stretching back more than six years.

Proposals: Martinez has recommended a 3 percent budget increase compared with about 4 percent proposed by the Legislative Finance Committee. Martinez proposes targeted increases for hard-to-fill jobs such as state police. But the legislative panel advocates across-the-board raises for all state agency workers and educators, with higher amounts for those in certain jobs, including judges, state police and social workers.


Backdrop: About $600 million in bond financing is available for capital improvement projects. Some of that goes for specific purposes, including public schools and projects on tribal lands. However, much of the financing will be divvied up for new projects. 

Proposals: Martinez proposes earmarking about $112 million in bond proceeds for water projects across the state. The governor also recommends creatinga  new fund that can provide emergency assistance to communities with drinking water problems. The Legislative Finance Committee has recommended $10 million in bond financing for highway maintenance and $6 million for a road to the state's spaceport.


Backdrop: Public schools, colleges and universities get nearly $3 out of every $5 in the operating budget. The high school graduation rate was 70 percent in the last school year, and nearly half of graduates enrolling in state colleges in 2011 and 2012 required remedial courses.

Proposals: Martinez will renew a proposal to require schools to hold back third-graders who can't read proficiently. Some Democrats and a coalition of social advocacy groups want to earmark part of the yearly payout from a state permanent fund to provide more money for early-childhood education. Lawmakers also will consider ways to shore up a lottery-financed college scholarship program. Some proposals would change the program to make the aid need-based and provide a flat dollar amount for scholarships. 

The Associated Press

Session dates - 2014

• December 16, 2013 - January 17 Legislation may be prefiled

• January 21 Opening day (noon)

• February 5 Deadline for introduction

• February 20 Session ends (noon)

• March 12 Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed

• May 21 Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date

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