February 28, 2009
Our State Senate has failed New Mexicans. As Ben Franklin once concluded: “Easy to be bought, if there was but a purchaser.” This describes the leadership in the Senate with Senators Tim Jennings and John Arthur Smith. The obnoxious Tax Increment Development District (TIDD) now goes to the House of Representative where Henry Kiki Saavedra, Chairman of the Appropriations and Finance Committee, can’t wait to bailout private companies SunCal and Westland Development with a $408 million bond issue for 28 years. This political trifecta has sold their souls to the SunCal and Westland lobbyists: Mark Fleisher, Arthur Hill, Allison Kuper, Dick Minzer, Robert Rivera, Marla Shoats, Joseph Thompson, Daniel Weaks, Vanessa Alarid and William Steadman. SunCal even feted Mr. Saavedra at an expensive picnic.
SunCal and Westland Development are promising to create 11,500 new jobs within the TIDD. Let’s see what these companies did in California — 30 bankruptcies, unpaid debts of millions to contractors and no new jobs. Taxpayers are being used to finance this land scheme. New Mexico is one of a few states that uses state taxes to bailout a development. In an overwhelming number of developments, the costs of the public infrastructure are shared between the private developer and the local government. However, SunCal will be free from this onerous expense. To make matters even worse, the state is not guaranteed any presence on the TIDD Board and has no oversight of the use of the Gross Receipt Tax (GRT) funds. In addition, SunCal, which has a poor track record with its numerous debts and bankruptcies, does not have to worry about that matter. TIDDs are political subdivisions of the state and will be taking on the debt in order to repay the developer. This borders on corruption. Any state legislator who votes for this disgraceful bill will be held accountable. Recently it was calculated that the average per-capita income for all New Mexicans was $29,929, although rural per-capita income lagged at $26,081. The question is, are we going to help Bruce Elieff, CEO of SunCal, with an estimated worth of $300 million or New Mexicans who are really suffering and deserve beneficial treatment.
530 La Melodia Drive
Las Cruces, NM 88011