Paul Gessing

Paul Gessing is the President of the Rio Grande Foundation. He reviews the politics of 2020 and the public policy decisions made during a most unusual year in New Mexico. The Rio Grande Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable, tax-exempt, non-profit economic policy think tank located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Paul and his team have built a website full of valuable information  https://riograndefoundation.org/. Here are a few of the topics Paul covers on today’s show with links to additional information:

  1. Trump signs the $900 billion stimulus bill and $1.4 federal funding legislation: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/27/congress-stimulus-deal-450380. Biden has called the legislation a “down payment” on what we can only imagine will be an even more significant “stimulus” soon. COVID dominated 2020 like no other issue has dominated a year since World War II or perhaps the Great Depression.
  2. 2020 NM Legislative Session: https://riograndefoundation.org/?s=Legislative+session
    1. 2020 started with a 30-day legislative session and a significant surplus thanks to the oil and gas industry. A budget was passed that pushed State spending to $7.6 billion, a 21% increase over two years.
    2. SB 5; -7 (worst of the session): Red Flag Bill infringes on gun rights, due process and creates new opportunities for costly lawsuits against local governments;
    3. HB 364; -6 Public Employee Give away
    4. HB 83; -6 Creates a new $320 million fund for early education
    5. RGF worked on PERA to reform one of NM’s underfunded public employee pension systems.
    6. No tax reform or Social Security tax relief.
    7. Free College failed.
  3. What are the conflicts of interest for Deb Haaland, Biden Nominee for Interior Secretary, and the Management of Tribal Lands in NM? https://riograndefoundation.org/?s=Deb+Haaland
  4. RGF wins ethics complaint against Mayor Tim Keller overuse of City website for Electoral Advocacy https://riograndefoundation.org/?s=Tim+Keller
    12. MARCH 11: COVID hits New Mexico. In-person school canceled for children in public schools. Begins one of the busiest times for the RGF in its history. https://riograndefoundation.org/covid-19-must-spur-long-overdue-reform-to-nm-education-system/
    13. RGF lawsuit asserts that Albuquerque city councilors violated open meeting laws https://riograndefoundation.org/rio-grande-foundation-sues-city-of-albuquerque-for-open-meetings-act-violations/.
    15. RGF pushes for and gets a waiver on Albuquerque’s ban on plastic bags at grocery stores. https://riograndefoundation.org/?s=Plastic+bags RGF’s efforts land it in NY Times.

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