Questions linger over NM’s $48 million computer system for the unemployed

By Rob Nikolewski on October 23, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – The troubled $48 million computer program handling New Mexico’s unemployment taxes and claims has dramatically improved, the secretary of the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions said Wednesday.
But at least one state senator is skeptical.
DWS Secretary Celina Bussey said average telephone wait times on Mondays — typically [...]

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Study: Warning signs for NM’s public pension system

By Rob Nikolewski on September 20, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — New Mexico legislators may have passed a pension reform law this year, but a financial think tank says the state still has serious issues in front of it.
“Promises Made, Promises Broken,” a national study released by State Budget Solutions, claims public employee retirement promises in the [...]

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New Mexico’s pension fix gets a court challenge

By Rob Nikolewski on September 3, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — A deal among New Mexico groups to shore up an estimated $12 billion in unfunded liabilities faces possible derailment by a court challenge.
The compromise, approved by leadership of the Educational Retirement Board and the Public Employees Retirement Association, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. [...]

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Other half of state pension fix signed into law

By Rob Nikolewski on April 5, 2013

New Mexico’s public pension plans may be on the road to fixing its glaring $12 billion fiscal hole.
On Friday, Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill making adjustments to the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).
Together with her decision to sign a similar measure to change the contributions structure of the Educational Retirement Board (ERB), both bills [...]

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Pension reform bill passes NM Senate

By Rob Nikolewski on March 7, 2013

While other states like Illinois have ignored reforming their state pension plans that are hemorrhaging taxpayer money, New Mexico on Thursday took a step toward trying to fix at least half of the $12 billion hole in its pension system.
“I wish we had the money, I wish we could give employees a 3 percent raise [...]

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Who pays to clean up horse racing in New Mexico?

By Rob Nikolewski on February 27, 2013

After a year filled with scandals and allegations of rampant drugging of racehorses, New Mexico is trying to clean up its image through legislation for stricter penalties and tougher drug tests.
But how much will it cost, and who might end up paying for it?
A (Seattle) slew of no less than five bills are galloping through [...]

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Big contributors: Are taxpayers chipping in too much for NM pensions? UPDATE: PERA bill heads to Senate floor

By Rob Nikolewski on February 26, 2013

Update: At a little after 7 p.m., a compromise version of Senate Bill 27 passed unanimously through the Senate Finance Committee that reduced the employer contribution in the PERA pension plan from 1.5 percent to 0.4 percent. SB27 now heads to the Senate floor.
The two public employee pension plans in New Mexico contain some of [...]

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Wild Kingdom: Legislature tackling a gaggle of animal bills

By Rob Nikolewski on February 20, 2013

Amid the more than 1,200 bills before the New Mexico Legislature in its current session are nearly 50 dealing with animals, ranging from horses, cattle, dogs and wildlife.”I tell the Game and Fish guys I see them up here more than I see most folks,” Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, said.
“You know what? It’s old [...]

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Pension fix update: PERA plan passes Senate Judiciary

By Rob Nikolewski on February 11, 2013

A bill that hopes to fix a $6.2 billion hole in one of the two major public employee pension plans in New Mexico cleared a big hurdle early Monday evening (Feb. 11) when Senate Bill 27 passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee without a dissenting vote.
“Employees are scared because there’s a $6 billion hole in [...]

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Plenty of talk but no action so far to fix NM’s public pensions

By Rob Nikolewski on February 5, 2013

New Mexico’s two big state pension plans need a $12 billion fix, but a bill aimed at shoring up the $6.2 billion in unfunded liabilities at the state employees’ pension plan is in a holding pattern.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, said while he’s a bit frustrated, “when you’re talking about saving the [...]

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