Letters to the editor (03/21/12)

........................................................................................................................................................................................

We can afford the small energy rate hike
Editor:
I read a couple of things the other day. One was another fear-mongering letter to the News-Bulletin from Valencia County’s foremost enemy of renewable energy. The other was our electric bill.
The letter contained the usual undocumented assertions and outright misinformation. Its message was that the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, a mandate to slowly phase in clean, renewable energy sources, would cause horrible, terrible, disastrous cost increases to New Mexicans.
Our PNM bill included a notice about an application for a Renewable Energy Rider to come before the Public Regulation Commission to cover the cost of energy generated from clean sources. If granted, it will raise electric bills about 2.08 percent a month.
Electricity has always been expensive around here compared to other energy sources, so we don’t waste a lot of it. For us, the rate hike would amount to about 54 cents a month.
I think we can handle that, particularly since it gets us a little closer to a survivable future.

Laura Sanchez
Los Lunas

Our money is better spent on local projects
Editor:
I attended the Valencia County priorities meeting on February 21.  Apparently the meeting was organized by Congressman Pearce’s office.
Pearce’s staff members were visiting several of the councils of government around the second district.
The Mid Region Council of Governments was involved with this meeting and had apparently made the arrangements for room, time, etc.
The meeting was conducted by a panel of four ladies who are all part of Pearce’s staff. The idea was to collect priority concerns from the county and cities to take back to Washington, D.C.  Some of the priorities mentioned were:
• Federal funding and grant opportunities to fund the Rail Runner
• Funding for the $67 million Los Lunas Corridor Study
• Widening of N.M. 47
• Public services such as water, sewer, water tanks, settling ponds, connection with prison for water and sewer
• Easements from the New Mexico Department of Transportation for Belen catch basins
• Hospital construction and grant opportunities
As seen in the project list above, the bulk of the discussion revolved around how to get federal grants and funds without identifying them as ear marks.
It was discussed that the state and county don’t have any money, but there was not much recognition that the feds have to borrow about half of every dollar given for ear marks and grants, etc.
Dependency on federal funding is rampant. About 20 percent of our people, excluding government employees, are dependent on federal support for their livelihood. Only about half of the people pay any federal income taxes.
State and local governments are no exception. The federal government has its hooks into the state and local levels of government who can’t seem to operate without some grant, bailout or earmark.
The dependency culture is so strong, now, it is difficult to see how it can be reversed. Obviously, federal spending needs to be significantly curtailed. Federal taxes have to be slashed so state and local government can ask for and use tax money for priority projects without the voracious eagle middle-man sucking away a big portion of our tax dollars.
The people have to be aware of priorities locally and be willing to pay for what is needed. They probably would be willing if so much was not going to Washington from so few.
State and local governments need to start saying, “No, thank you,” to all the federal largess and the burdensome regulations, requirements, and control that go along with it.
I would rather have spent my $136,000 share of the national debt on better sewer and water systems or roads and bridges in Valencia County than unconstitutional crony capitalism, health care mandates, interest on debt and bribes and grants to states and local government that only give us back pennies on the dollars we send to Washington.

James Crawford
Los Lunas

Estate taxes are collected for a reason
Editor:
A democratic government is only as good as those setting the political examples.
Gee, what a wonderful world Dana Davis lives in; a world wherein only fairness and just rewards exists, a world in which corrupt politicians, thieves, criminal fraud, robbery, graft, insider trading, bribery, loopholes, hidden foreign bank accounts, offshore tax havens, fine print and financial cheats/liars, in general, do not exist, a world containing only duly “earned” honorable estates.
I am sorry Mr. Davis, your comments, so dedicated to ignorance of reality, do not really “earn” a response — but!
Mr. Davis, you let the cat out of the bag with your following statements, and ended by being one of those paranormal mind readers, “Likely, I will never have enough of an estate to be subject to an estate tax. Well, that is until Mr. Mehaffey gets his way and the government just confiscates everything.”
Your “likely” is probably accurate; but with your world view you can fantasize otherwise. And please do not pretend to think for me and, even more important, do not speak for me!
I read John Locke as well, but I always say if you are really hungry don’t give the rabbit to a philosopher to clean.
As far as the different degrees of estates are concerned (earned or stolen — partially or totally), and as to how their benefit and/or danger to a democratic society is concerned, I had rather depend upon the (honest) insight of those active in reality, business and government — not philosophy — historically, honest economic voices such as Theodore Roosevelt, or more in the present, like the voice of Warren Buffet, concerning those great (earned) estates.
The world I live in is filled with the massive, financial misdeeds of the many (not the all). For many years now, I have followed some of the worst criminal fraud cases against the government, etc. (stealing from the people), and one out of far too many, including its all-too-common aftermath, has long stuck in my craw.
Heck, just try to understand/follow all the massive criminal fraud settlement cases of the past few years, settled with fines and no jail time (and as they say, follow the money to find those too big to jail or let fail!).
Theodore Roosevelt once said it is the crooks that get away that are the danger, not the ones caught. Little could he have foreseen the present, wherein the crooks caught also get away to repeat the frauds while receiving large golden parachutes and/or bonuses (perhaps enjoy the comedic irony by changing the word receiving to earning).
Again, I must wonder how it is that Mr. Davis is so ignorant of earthly reality and, one important definition for the base word he used, “earn” (acquire or deserve by one’s efforts or actions) and the honesty differences between “acquire”  and “deserve” as applied to “estates” and to “heirs.”
Lastly, as regards this disgusting, ill-tempered/mannered judgment: “And, if we can keep Mr. Mehaffey’s aged, informed hands out of my pockets once I’m dead…”
You can rest in peace, Mr. Davis, as disinterested as it may seem for your world view, whether alive or otherwise, there is nothing in your pockets (or any one else’s) that I desire.
But I can intellectually (of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind) inform you that in every fraud case that exists (found, unfound or ignored), the driven fraud/con master’s hands (estates) are already in your pocket and the pockets of your children and of your government — and they will happily exhume your grave looking for more to put into their own “earned,” estates.
The title awarded to your letter is a question, “Where is the justice in estate taxes?” The more logical and moral question would be: Where is the justice without the estate taxes?
Leading me to this conclusion: The best descriptive word I can think of for this wasted conversation is — nuts.

Terry Mehaffey
Los Lunas