AFSCME Council 18

Don't Believe the Hype. Governor Martinez Buried Capital Outlay Exactly According to Plan

Whoever heard of Democrats ambushing a plan to invest public money on programs supporting working people? Elected leaders missed the game winning field goal and a chance to put people to work when the sensible capital outlay bill was botched this legislative session.

Media outlets are claiming Senate Bill 159, containing $264 million in shovel ready public works funding, fell victim to partisan brinksmanship. The fact is, New Mexico Senators voted 40-0 for the bill with every single Republican voting yes. That should clue us in that darker political motives were responsible for the bill’s demise. SB159 would’ve created thousands of jobs and built or refurbished our state’s vital infrastructure.

The investment represented a shot in the arm which our sluggish economy needed to jump into a higher gear.
Crafted in a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation by New Mexico’s Senate, the bill was strategically derailed by Governor Martinez and her loyal, staunchly anti-worker House GOP at a time when citizens are hungry to see the recession disappear in our rearview mirror.

Our private sector economy is primed for recovery, the signs of Spring are everywhere. Manufacturing is on the rise in the middle Rio Grande, Boeing Corporation invented new laser technology and Albuquerque might even be the perfect place to build the development facility. The duty of good governance was to give us an extra boost. That chance was squandered, but why?

Governor Martinez’s agenda wasn’t merely divisive this session, every decision was calculated to take control of the Senate in 2016. From right-to-work, to corporate education reform, (aka high stakes over-testing), to the effort to take away immigrant drivers licenses (for the umpteenth time), anyone would’ve told you in January that those bills were dead on arrival at the Senate. Why? Because they’re all politically motivated bills that don’t create jobs, help children learn, make our communities safer, or improve the quality of our lives.

Instead of realistically working with the legislature, the Governor rolled out the moldy oldies and began beating the drum for the ‘16 elections.

Governor Martinez makes big bets. Her largest gamble by far is the one to mislead voters into believing Democrats derailed a bill putting people to work.

Who in their right mind believes the Democrats would torpedo a bill creating jobs and building up public infrastructure? It’s what Democrats and sensible Republicans do.

The truth is, Governor Martinez used her power over a house committee to redistribute money into an irresponsible giveaway for her big-money oil & gas amigos. The Senate and House had already passed a budget paying for road improvements in Southeast New Mexico’s oil patch, but the Governor doubled down, putting road costs onto the state's credit card and into SB159..

Working family champions called out the stunt and in the eleventh hour tried to restore critical funding needed to support senior centers, schools, conduct safety repairs on state correctional facilities, roads, bridges, infrastructure, and tons more.

Fiscally hawkish legislators had earlier proposed responsible options and practical solutions that would've allowed the public works bill to move forward, but Martinez’s aggressive agenda would not bend.

The capital outlay suffered a political execution, and with it died thousands of good jobs, public safety, and projects brightening our state.
It was the Governor (NOT working family allies or the Senate) who behaved irresponsibly by sticking in a poison pill.
It was disingenuous for the Governor to feign surprise during her post-legislative session press conference.

Governor Martinez buried capital outlay exactly according to plan.

Voters need to recognize who benefits and who suffers when the state neglects funding for projects, jobs, and infrastructure repairs.

There is one group claiming victory when an agenda to crush the scope of public services succeeds. That group is the wealth ridden extreme right and Governor Martinez is the pawn-in-chief of the movement and the moment.

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