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State Fair chief defends The Downs racino deal

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 12:05 am, Fri Feb 14, 2014.

State senators issued no subpoena, but the State Fair manager appeared Thursday to defend himself before a legislative committee.

Dan Mourning, who runs the daily operations of the fair and its umbrella organization, Expo New Mexico, said his tenure has been marked by progress. Mourning told the Senate Rules Committee that he took over a disorganized, debt-ridden fair in 2011 and is turning it around.

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1 comment:

  • Mark Ordonez posted at 12:52 pm on Fri, Feb 14, 2014.

    marcoordonez Posts: 659

    The Santa Fe New Mexican, under the direction of Editor Ray Rivera, insultingly failed to report on two missing/runaway teenage girls, April Vigil and Gulissa Venzor. though I see a lil paragraph in section C about April today. MONDAY I sent an e-mail to Ray, Web editor Natalie Guillen, reporters Daniel Chacon, and Bruce Krasnow with links to the Albuquerque Journal, KOAT news, and KOB news about Gulissa Venzor who was reported by her parents as a runaway February 1, 2014. Ray and Natalie wrote back that they were working on a story. Daniel and Bruce failed to respond. 4 days later a lil paragraph in news briefs.

    Thorough and timely information can be found on; KOAT, KOB and ABQJOURNAL web sites.
    Also, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is looking for April Vigil, 16, who was reported missing on Friday, January 31, 2014. Vigil was last seen in the area of Morris Place, visiting a friend. She was first reported as a runaway, but has failed to contact her parents or friends, which has detectives concerned, the sheriff’s office said.
    Vigil is 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. She has brown hair and eyes.
    Anyone with knowledge of Vigil’s whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Investigations Unit at 505.986.2490 or RECC Dispatch at 505.428.3720.

    I'd imagine if these were SFNM employee's daughters, they'd be on the front page, not a news brief in Section C. Keep up the mediocre work SFNM.
    [offtopic]

     

Key issues facing lawmakers

ECONOMICS

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.

BUDGET

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.

INFRASTRUCTURE

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.

EDUCATION

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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