30 Dec 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:
- 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.
- 2020 NM Legislative Session: https://riograndefoundation.org/?s=Legislative+session
- 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.
- 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;
- HB 364; -6 Public Employee Give away
- HB 83; -6 Creates a new $320 million fund for early education
- RGF worked on PERA to reform one of NM’s underfunded public employee pension systems.
- No tax reform or Social Security tax relief.
- Free College failed.
- 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
- 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.