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New Mexico Special Session Quiz

15 Questions
New Mexico Special Session Quiz

Beginning at noon, Oct. 17, the New Mexico Legislature convenes for a “special session. ” What makes it so special? Take this quiz and find out!

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Only one subject will be on the agenda at the special session. That is:
    • A. 

      What we did on our summer vacations.

    • B. 

      Why a federal investigation into “pay to play” financial deals by Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration was reportedly closed not long before Aldus Equity founder Saul Meyer admitted he recommended the state purchase “certain investments that were pushed on me by politically connected individuals in New Mexico.”

    • C. 

      How to deal with the $656 million-and-growing hole in the state budget.

  • 2. 
    In order “to keep marriage equality at the forefront” of lawmakers’ minds, activists will do what at the Roundhouse on Oct. 17?
    • A. 

      Make the Republican caucus do the dishes for once. How’s that for equality?

    • B. 

      Read the names of closeted lawmakers who opposed same-sex domestic partnership rights.

    • C. 

      Create the world’s largest engagement ring by surrounding the building with gold lamé fabric topped with a giant faux “diamond.”

  • 3. 
    Though it may be unrealistic, Gov. Bill Richardson and top lawmakers hope to limit the special session to one day. Why?
    • A. 

      To save on energy costs.

    • B. 

      Because that way, top power brokers can work out the details of the budget in advance of the public process and limit scrutiny of their decisions.

    • C. 

      They’re already working on a Saturday, for chrissake! You can’t expect them to come in on Sunday, too.

  • 4. 
    Richardson opposes which budget-balancing measure “so we don’t hurt efforts to recruit new business”?
    • A. 

      Repealing the tax cuts on personal income, corporate income and capital gains he got passed in 2003.

    • B. 

      Cutting state services like education and health care so deeply that most businesses would never consider locating here.

    • C. 

      Establishing “New Business Shakedown Checkpoints,” aka “Welcome Stops,” at every airport and road that crosses into the state.

  • 5. 
    At a teachers’ union rally at the Roundhouse last week, state Sen. Timothy Keller, D-Bernalillo, likened what to Swiss cheese, implying that it is full of holes?
    • A. 

      Richardson’s excuses for leaving the scene of a boat accident involving staff—including Finance and Administration Secretary Katherine Miller—at Elephant Butte this summer.

    • B. 

      The various sources of revenue—from royalties on oil production to hunting license fees to sales and income taxes—that make up the state’s tax base.

    • C. 

      The argument that higher teacher salaries correlate to smarter students.

  • 6. 
    What does Richard Anklam, president of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, call the process whereby the recession cuts down on oil production and business activity, thus reducing the amount of money lawmakers can produce through tax increases?
    • A. 

      “Squeezing the Revenue Turnip.”

    • B. 

      “Flogging the Dead Revenue Horse.”

    • C. 

      “Spanking the Money Monkey.”

  • 7. 
    According to a Sept. 29 Wall Street Journal analysis, only one other state saw a bigger drop in tax revenues between 2008 and 2009 than New Mexico. That was the troubled state of:
    • A. 

      Alaska (duh).

    • B. 

      Arizona (ha!).

    • C. 

      Iraq.

    • D. 

      Panic.

  • 8. 
    In an Oct. 2 open letter, New Mexico House Speaker Ben Luján, D-Santa Fe, said he was “deeply disappointed” two state senators “prematurely” released information about budget cuts before the Legislature came to agreement, causing what?
    • A. 

      “Widespread panic.”

    • B. 

      “Widespread confusion.”

    • C. 

      “Premature capitulation.”

  • 9. 
    In an Oct. 9 letter to Gov. Richardson, Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Jennings, D-Chavez, presented three budget-cutting scenarios “in an attempt to head off” what?
    • A. 

      “Competing proposals that may include certain kinds of tax increases or other measures less palatable to our campaign donors.”

    • B. 

      “Widespread democracy.”

    • C. 

      “Widespread panic.”

  • 10. 
    Jennings’ letter put forward three “very painful” options to address the “deepening financial crisis.” Those three options are:
    • A. 

      Agency cuts averaging 16.3 percent or $258 million.

    • B. 

      Agency cuts averaging 4.7 percent or $104 million, plus $156 million in cuts to public schools and higher education.

    • C. 

      Agency cuts averaging 3.5 percent plus 2.5 percent to salary, saving $64 million alone.

    • D. 

      Ending corporate subsidies with no demonstrable public benefit; tax increases on the wealthy.

    • E. 

      Bake sales.

  • 11. 
    Even if lawmakers fix this and next year’s budget, Jennings’ letter estimates a $322 million deficit beginning in fiscal year 2011. What does state Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, call patching the budget without finding new sources of revenue?
    • A. 

      “The duct tape and Krazy Glue approach.”

    • B. 

      “Like squeezing a blood-drained revenue turnip full of Swiss-cheese-like holes.”

    • C. 

      “Widespread stupidity.”

  • 12. 
    The Legislature’s decisions about budget cuts will affect people who don’t drive a car on state highways or have a child in a public school. Why is that?
    • A. 

      One popular proposal calls for closing the deficit by raiding the bank accounts of immobile childless nonvoters.

    • B. 

      We’re all, like, connected.

    • C. 

      “When the Legislature has a hole in its budget like this, it has to hurt the economy in some way.”

  • 13. 
    Wirth points out that for every $1 the state cuts in Medicaid benefits, it sacrifices what?
    • A. 

      The future well-being of its population and, as a result, the cost savings that come with good public health.

    • B. 

      The part of its soul that is nourished by showing compassion to those less fortunate.

    • C. 

      $4 in matching federal funds.

  • 14. 
    Richardson’s initial budget proposal for next year would cut $181,500 from the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office and $122,100 from the 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe. Who benefits most from a weakened judicial system?
    • A. 

      The state Public Defender Department, which faces a smaller cut statewide

    • B. 

      Small-time pot growers: Heat’s off, dude.

    • C. 

      Wife-beaters: “In a recession, domestic violence clearly goes up,” 1st Judicial District Family Court Judge Raymond Oritz says. “The 1st District is already three judges short…Any further cuts are going to impact the courts’ ability to deal quickly and effectively with domestic violence.”

  • 15. 
    The LFC’s “reduction scenario” for the current fiscal year calls for reducing the budget of the Workforce Solutions Department—which provides benefits to laid-off workers—by 28 percent and making up the difference with one-time federal stimulus funds. What happens if they’re wrong, the recovery takes longer than expected and the state is left without enough money to pay unemployment benefits to the additional 10,000 New Mexicans expected to be out of work?
    • A. 

      The Money Monkey chokes on the revenue turnip and kicks the bucket.

    • B. 

      ¡Viva la revolución!

    • C. 

      Widespread panic.

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