Session an Expensive Waste of Your Money

In this week's Intelligencer, the special session drains more wealth from the economy, plastic grocery bag wars continue, the FBI visits New Mexico, and a tiny-house project is a big waste so far.

The Intelligencer is a weekly newsletter that gives you a quick overview of La Politica across New Mexico and the U.S., covering topics such as policy, current events, the political landscape, and tech.

Send us any feedback (including chismes and quejas) by going to our website or shoot me an email at dax[AT]nmhispanos.com. And if you are not already subscribed, sign up here.


Dax Contreras
Executive Director, Hispanos Unidos

1.  MLG’s budget veto “is a quintessential example of a failed administration driven by politics instead of good governance.” – NM Senator Mark Moores

What happened: The completely unnecessary special session brokered by MLG and Democrat leadership not only wasted the money it takes to hold a special session, it conspired to waste even more taxpayer dollars by committing about $677 million for tax rebate checks— plus another $20 million for those who don’t even pay taxes (so that’s just welfare, not a rebate.)

What they’re saying: Former Democrat, Senator Jacob Candelaria asked why the governor chose to reject the whole bill instead of using her line-item veto power, “I’ll propose to the body, at least for me, the jury’s in, and that was a politically vindictive decision.”

“The irony is when…the only addition to this bill…was a $1 million addition to a Rail Runner… and it can’t be explained to this committee what the money is for or where that wording came from,” Sen. Crystal Diamond said.

“I only heard about this in the last, maybe, 36 hours,” said Democrat Sen. Michael Padilla who represents Albuquerque.

The big picture: As Democrat politicians across America flip-flop on gas prices, many in the Roundhouse suspect MLG only vetoed the junior budget out of revenge for her own party’s members dissention on the Governor’s key re-election priorities. It may also have been in retaliation for when the legislature called MLG out for violating the state constitution by unilaterally spending hundreds of millions of dollars (and then she still illegally spent money right after the State Supreme Court ruled against MLG.)

2. “It’s important for policymakers to understand the unintended consequences of plastic bag bans or fees before implementing them.” –University of Georgia researcher Yu-Kai Huang.

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Details: In 2019, when the left-wing Albuquerque City Council banned grocery stores and other retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags, it seemed ABQ was the latest victim of the eco-fascists.

Last month, the new conservative council repealed the ban, which spurred Mayor Tim Keller to veto the council’s vote. But the last laugh goes to the council, who voted 6-3 on Monday to override the mayor’s veto.

Why it matters: The increasingly radical Las Cruces City Council dominated by left-wing activists banned plastic store bags –under the false pretense that bags are a “nuisance that has been caused through the rapid and growing increase of single-use plastic bags in the city.”

The city’s ordinance forces stores to charge an “environmental service fee” of 10 cents per bag to cover administrative costs of collecting and reporting the fee. The other half of the money goes to the city itself to pay for propaganda pushing the ban, and Big Green propaganda in general.

Does it even work?: A new study by a University of Georgia researcher published recently in the journal Environmental and Resource Economics shows they can actually cause more plastic bags to be purchased in the cities where bags are banned. Why? Because people commonly use bags more than once. “When these shopping bags are taxed or taken away, people look for alternatives—which means they buy small plastic garbage bags.”

“By purchasing 4-gallon trash bags, plastic consumption increased by between 30 and 135 pounds per store per month. The sales of 8-gallon trash bags created an additional 37 to 224 pounds of plastic per store per month,” according to reports.

3. America’s top cop meets travels to the War Zone (in Albuquerque)

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Work trip: FBI Director Christopher Wray came down from Washington to the Duke City, calling Albuquerque’s record-breaking murder rate in 2021 “truly horrifying”, while understating the more than 30 bank robberies in just three months so far this year, describing it as a “serious problem.”

Intervention: Director Wray said federal charges are “the answer” to the rising crime problem because federal charges have longer sentences. “They all [task force officers] have the ability to enforce federal statutes and present investigations to the US Attorney’s Office to aggressively pursue federal charges…really whenever and wherever we can.”

Billboards have popped up around town warning that local police will pursue federal charges as much as possible.

Big Brother: In describing how the feds might bring more resources, Director Wray said, “whether that’s through more intelligence support, whether that’s through potentially sending dedicated teams to assist in some ways from other parts of the country if necessary.”

When our local public officials fail to address the real root causes and refuse to do what is necessary to fight crime, the people will desperately seek out anything to make things better. But it’s a slippery slope when Big Brother starts to mission creep outside of its proper role, which jeopardizes both our safety and our liberty. Point is, we can’t depend on D.C. to save us and New Mexicans better find local and long-term solutions in November.

4. Tiny-houses project a giant waste for taxpayers so far

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Details: Tiny Home Village is a $5,000,000 housing project to provide homeless folks a place to live. But after a full year, only 4 out of 30 houses built are currently occupied. So what do the managers propose to fix the problem? Another half million dollars, of course!

Why it matters: Bernalillo County Commission approved the $500K to fund around-the-clock security for current residents (all four of them.) Tiny Home Village Manager Carolyn Chavez said they have many applicants waiting to be approved and moved in, however, they don't have the staff to approve the “many” applicants.     

Sunken Costs: "This was a pilot program from the beginning. Once we got started we realized that the program…wasn't working well and so we went back to the drawing board,” said Chavez. Bernalillo County District 5 Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty said "a lot of hard-earned taxpayer dollars" have gone into building Tiny House Village. This is a perfect example of The Sunken Cost Fallacy.

For example, when you spend $1,000 on a car but end up spending $1,500 to repair it. People often choose to keep paying more money for repairs than just junking the car and taking the loss. But all this does is waste money that could go to another car that might actually run.

The village’s managers realized last summer that their plan was doomed to failure. Let us learn from these silly politicians and bureaucrats the critical lesson of the Sunken Cost Fallacy.

 

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  • Dax Contreras
    published this page in Blog 2022-04-07 23:13:58 -0600