A Fair Census
The census is completed every ten years and is being held up in the Supreme Court because some factions are attempting to add a question regarding citizenship.
The purpose of the census is to collect statistical data to determine the appropriate division of House seats and provide a basis for appropriating federal taxes and funding among states.
That quantity of people counted equates to how much money we receive from the federal government. Everyone should be counted and the census should not have questions regarding citizenship and not utilized as a tool to create fear among people and prevent communities from receiving their needed funding.
Broadband Access For Everyone
Every rural community should have access to broadband and the internet and this initiative should be supported with federal dollars.
Cannabis Not Criminalization
Decriminalization is critical. We need to stop our grey market and potential for uncertainty. We need to create a new, well-regulated and inclusive marijuana industry that is rooted in racial and economic justice.
The federal government needs to decriminalize and legalize marijuana and provide the banking capability of access for states that choose to legalize, produce and sell medical cannabis. If done correctly, you can increase tax revenue, generate commerce and support the agricultural economy.
There is disproportionate harm to communities of color. By decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis, we can also improve the justice system by re-evaluating people that were incarcerated for small possession and utilize incarceration for criminals that endanger our communities.
I am on the New Mexico Tax Policy committee and have learned the unintended consequences and some of the concerns that come with legalizing when proper planning is not incorporated into the plan via our Colorado affiliates. The federal government needs to stop inhibiting states and local government from creating sustainable economic and agricultural development.
Education is our most powerful economic development tool, and that is why Democrats always prioritize education. Pre-k and early childhood education should be fully-funded. Music, sports, arts, government clubs, and other enrichment opportunities need to be available for every student.
No one who is working should still be paying student debt 15 years after contributing to our community. New Mexico ranks #1 in the federal student loan default rate which means more than any other state our citizens have delayed or denied access to the American Dream. We are furthering the inequality divide.
We also need to restructure our education system. Our curriculums should reflect life skills including banking and investing and incorporate high-quality trade schools like farming, ranching, mechanics, plumbing, construction, and film.
Equal Pay for Equal Work
The time has come for real pay equity for women and people of color. The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act but wage gaps remain. This disparity affects women’s spending power and penalizes our retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security and Pensions.
As Legislative Chair for the Treasurer’s Affiliate, I asked that the legislature consider making the salaries of elected county offices typically dominated by women equivalent to the those dominated by men. It’s time to make sure there is pay equality at all levels in the public and private sector
Human Immigration Reform
America was built on the backbone of immigrant families, fleeing oppression and seeking opportunities to make a better life for their children. Federal laws should not only maintain legal immigration levels, but support and provide a legal path for immigrants who wish to come to the United States and allow them to contribute their expertise and skill to our economy in order to maintain an adequate workforce.
Children that have been locked in concentration camps with no soap, beds, toothbrushes, or adult supervision is reprehensible. They should not be removed from their parents or put at risk of health issues, violence, and assault. We must do better!
Mental Health Justice
We need sensible measures to promote and advance the overall safety of the public. I support new policies and approaches that would enhance the ability to prevent and treat mental health and substance use disorders, both in our community and within the confines of the criminal justice system.
I believe programs to divert non-violent individuals struggling with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders from local jails into more appropriate treatment programs would assist both the people that need to become positive productive members of our society and help alleviate the backlog in the criminal justice system.
Reauthorizing the Farm Bill
I support long-term reauthorization of the Farm Bill that will help counties provide critical investments in our Nation’s most under-served communities. The Farm Bill is essential to small farms and our rural communities. Included in the Farm Bill is critical rural infrastructure funding including federal dollars for broad band, water and wastewater systems, food supply protection, access to healthy food for low-income populations through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and environmental stewardship and conservation.
Responsible Gun Ownership
Growing up in rural New Mexico, rifles and guns are part of our hunting and agricultural culture. They have been used as a tool to protect our livestock and agriculture and provide food for our table. As a responsible gun owner, I support background checks for anyone who purchases a gun outside of their family.
Restore Advanced Refunding Bonds and Oppose Eliminating or Limiting the Tax Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds
It’s critical that we restore advance refunding bonds and oppose eliminating or limiting the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. As Vice-Chair of FPIGA, I have strongly supported this legislation and have written our congressional delegation to support this bipartisan initiative.
Previously, counties could issue one advance refunding bond per tax-exempt municipal bond at a lower interest rate than the original bond. Advance refunding bonds made up about 1/3 of the municipal bond market with almost $400 billion in advance refunding bonds issued between 2012 and 2016. Over that period, local governments saved approximately $12 billion of taxpayer money through this mechanism. By adding this back into law, this helps keep money in taxpayers’ pocket. This is similar to how you refinance your mortgage. If rates are low, you have the opportunity to refinance. The government should have the same opportunity in order to be good stewards of taxpayer money.
Security Through Climate Action & Energy Transition
Along with caring for our children and elders, we need to protect our environment. New Mexico is the perfect state to create more energy-saving opportunities. Our beautiful landscapes can lead the country in solar, wind and geothermal as energy resources.
Sandoval County recently installed solar parking covers to pay for our energy. The energy savings will go towards the loans used for installation and, after the loans are paid, will boost the general fund for other county needs.
I do not believe in privatizing local government to secure loans for companies and putting that debt on property tax bills. That could hurt our most vulnerable taxpayers on fixed incomes and put them in jeopardy of losing their homes.
Standing up for PILT and SRS Funding
61.6% of US counties have federal land within their borders and in NM CD 3 alone there are over 14 million acres of federal land, almost 23% of land qualify for PiLT funding.* Local governments cannot charge property tax on federal land and the federal government has committed to Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PiLT) but has not always fulfilled its promise. PiLT payments support essential local services, likes schools, hospitals and infrastructure, and this program cannot continue to be discretionary.
Without congressional action, 1900 counties across 49 states face the expiration of critical financial offsets for untaxable federal lands. We need a long term legislative solution for continued revenue sharing payments to forest and pueblo land. I will support that legislation and mandatory funding for PILT.
Secure Rural Schools provides emergency relief for counties due to reduced natural resource activities on federal lands. I will continue to support legislation and mandatory full funding for SRS.
I stood in front of the Capitol with several other county elected officials & congressional leaders to support Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT)and Secure Rural Schools (SRS).
Supporting Our Military
Northern New Mexico had more Veterans per capita anywhere in the entire nation. District three has always stepped up to serve our country and we need to make sure we honor that sacrifice.
As Constituent Services Representative for Senator Jeff Bingaman in Colfax, Union, Guadalupe, Mora, and San Miguel, I assisted Veterans in retrieving their DD-214 military service documentation, helped them retrieve and receive honors for their medals and receive earned benefits including healthcare, counseling and GI Bill funding.
As County Treasurer and Legislative Chair for the Treasurer’s Affiliate, I have supported and drafted legislation that clarifies and protects tax benefits for veterans. Our bills clarified that if there are two Veterans in ownership of the home, they both receive the military tax credit and helped our 100% Disabled Veterans with complete exemption on their property tax bill, including Public Improvement Districts (PID) and Tax Increment Development Districts (TIDD) (SB 248, M. Sanchez, 2015). We supported SB 506 (2015), which provides the option for a Disabled Veteran’s property tax exemption to be transferred to a new property within the year of purchase (Payne). I redrafted HB 49 (2013), that allowed the taxpayer to opt-in to receive their Tax Bill and Notice of Value by electronic mail. This helped our military soldiers/families to receive their tax bill in a timely manner when serving overseas.
We should always support our Veterans, soldiers and their families. We do that by making sure that they have timely, professional and accessible care by the VA and transportation to get there. A Veteran or soldier should get the medical attention that includes top-notch counseling and treatment and NO Veteran should be homeless or without a meal or a safe place to live.
Trump’s Threat to Social Security
We have an aging population that has worked hard and fulfilled their share, and we need to honor our promises of social security, Medicaid and other retirements. In 2017, under the Trump administration tax “cut” was a handout to the top 1%, increasing our national debt. This drastic increase in our debt has endangered our obligations to our greatest generation and will enslave our children to unfair debt and a lifetime of hardship.
We need to stop this unfair tax favoritism to the rich before the detrimental balloon payment goes into effect in 2021 and hurts our working families.