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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How to make NM less vulnerable to federal gov’t shutdowns

By Rob Nikolewski on October 15, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — Regardless how it eventually ends, the partial government shutdown has highlighted how much New Mexico is dependent on the federal government.
And that leads to the next question: what can New Mexico do to diversify its economy so it will be less vulnerable to political bickering on [...]

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Shutdown? NM seems OK on the state level, but federal workers will feel the pinch

By Rob Nikolewski on September 30, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – The good news about a possible government shutdown? It won’t affect the vast majority of people in New Mexico, even most state employees.
The bad news? Since the state’s economy is so heavily reliant on federal dollars, a shutdown centered in Washington, D.C., will have more financial [...]

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Study: It pays $27,900 a year to not work in NM

By Rob Nikolewski on August 23, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — Is it easier not to work than try to find a decent job?
That’s the question some ask after a recent study showed total welfare benefits in New Mexico average $27,900 a year, or about $13.41 an hour if compared to full-time work.
“Poor people are not lazy. [...]

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Legislators frustrated as behavioral health controversy roils

By Rob Nikolewski on August 21, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
CHAMA – An estimated $36 million in potential fraud is a lot of money but members from both parties in the Legislative Finance Committee don’t like what they say is a lack of transparency from the Human Services Department.
As a result, on Wednesday the committee in a 15-1 vote supported an objection [...]

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Demonstrators interrupt committee hearing

By Rob Nikolewski on July 18, 2013

While members of the Legislative Finance Committee discussed public education Thursday morning (July 18), more than a dozen demonstrators interrupted the hearing and approached state Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, criticizing him for not holding a hearing during the past legislative session on a bill that would have dipped into the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to [...]

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Feds cut $26 million from New Mexico — $110 million from 35 states

By Rob Nikolewski on March 27, 2013

New Mexico is getting hit with a $26 million beanball from the Obama administration.
The federal government has sent letters to 35 states across the country, informing them it’s cutting federal mineral payments by about 5 percent this fiscal year. The administration says it’s making the move as part of the automatic spending cuts that started this month due to sequestration.
All told, the feds [...]

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Battle looming over the state budget

By Rob Nikolewski on March 12, 2013

The good news on Tuesday?
The state Senate passed an amended budget plan for the next fiscal year in New Mexico.
The bad news?
There’s going to be a fight about the details of the proposal as it heads back to the House of Representatives because Republicans in general and Gov. Susana Martinez in particular don’t like it. In fact, [...]

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“Breaking Bad” bill passes easily but critics say film incentives are just plain bad

By Rob Nikolewski on March 11, 2013

The “Breaking Bad” bill took another big step to becoming law Monday (March 11), even though a handful of critics of state film subsidies vented their disapproval on the Senate floor.
Update: The House of Representatives passed the bill through concurrence Tuesday afternoon so the bill heads directly to the governor’s desk.
“This is one of the [...]

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What NM legislators earned in expenses in 2012

By Rob Nikolewski on February 5, 2013

New Mexico may be the only state in the country that does not pay a salary to its state legislators but some of them make a decent amount in expenses.
The Associated Press just published a list of the per diem expenses for the 2012 members of the Roundhouse (70 in the House of Representatives and [...]

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