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Post-legislative session review forecasts revenue crunch by FY 2010

An analysis of the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee’s 2008 Post Session Review shows that the state’s tax revenues will not keep pace with New Mexico’s economy or inflation, creating a budget shortfall as early as FY 2010, which begins in July 2009.

Released on May 21, the analysis is laid out in the report “New Mexico’s Revenue Forecast: The Coming Drought,” released by the child advocacy organization New Mexico Voices for Children. “The state’s own projections are for a deficit of $8 million in 2010 that will grow to $122 million by fiscal year 2012,” said Gerry Bradley, Research Director for NM Voices and the report author. The analysis shows that all of the state’s major sources of revenue, except taxes on oil production, are expected to slow in coming years. While taxes on oil and natural gas increase as prices for these commodities rise, production continually declines as resources are depleted.

“Unless we find new revenue streams, the state will be forced to cut services and programs,” said Bradley, “and new priorities that are already being discussed, such as the school funding formula, are even less likely to be implemented.”

The report poses several policy solutions for increasing revenue. Among them are implementing combined reporting, which would require multi-state corporations to pay their fair share of corporate income taxes on their profits here, and closing a loophole in the state’s personal income tax code that essentially allows filers who itemize to take the same deduction twice. These two initiatives alone would bring in an estimated $140 million a year.

The Fiscal Policy Project is a program of New Mexico Voices for Children and is made possible by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, call (505) 244-9505 or visit www.nmvoices.org or www.nmfiscalpolicyproject.org.


Attorney General’s report: small Internet service providers being bullied

Attorney General Gary King’s office today filed a report and a motion before the Public Regulation Commission (PRC), asking the commission to open an investigation into unfair billing and business practices by Qwest and Windstream phone companies.

In response to a request for the report from the PRC, telecom specialist Assistant Attorney General Brian Harris presented a report to commissioners detailing how small New Mexico companies that provide essential Internet services to small towns and cities are being forced out of business or are struggling to stay alive by monopolistic practices of the two largest incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in the state.

Some of the more egregious examples include a monthly bill that exceeds five thousand pages, billing errors that consistently favor the ILEC, arbitrarily imposed termination liability fees, an enduring “run-around” when the small business tries to solve the problem with the ILEC, improper threats to shut down service, and improper “slamming” of broadband customers. Many of these businesses, at great expense, have had to devote at least one full-time employee simply to trying to decipher the bills. Some companies have ceased operation, at great dislocation to their customers; others have had their customers experience enormous frustration when they are caught between a phone company and their local Internet service providers.

“There exists a market asymmetry right now where small Internet service providers depend on big companies that control what the small companies can offer to their customers,” says Harris. “We are asking the PRC to eliminate this advantage, promote competition, and protect consumers by stepping in.”

The Attorney General’s Office is also urging the commission to conduct hearings statewide to obtain more first-hand accounts of billing problems and associated business practices by the ILECs.


Internet users find new twist on old scam

The “Winning Notification” states it is from the “New Mexico Sweepstakes” and the email message begins, “The prestigious New Mexico Sweepstakes and aol has set out and successfully organised a Sweepstakes marking our 60th anniversary we rolled over Two Million US Dollars for our end of year Anniversary Draws.”

Two of the signs that a questionable email message is a hoax are misspellings and poor grammar. This scam email contains both.

The email advises winners to contact “your fiduciary Agent” with information that includes, but is not limited to, your full name, country, occupation, age, sex, ticket numbers, and batch numbers. This type of inquiry is common with what are known as “phishing scams.”

Do not provide the information requested. If you receive the “New Mexico Sweepstakes” or any similar variation, forward it to: publicinformationoff@nmag.gov. Call the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-678-1508 for more information.

 

 

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