Columnist wants turn at trough

By Kevin Wilson

We’re about to embark on another state legislative session, and I have a way to help.

The debate that is raging deals with the rather significant sum of $529 million. That is the approximate amount of new revenue available for our elected representatives to use for 2006. Some in the House and Senate wish to proceed with capital outlay requests to improve our communities and the services they provide, while some wish to give the excess money back to its citizens and let them spend it.

“I can’t believe anyone wants another half a billion spent on state government, “ said Sen. Leonard Lee Rawson, R-Las Cruces, the minority whip. “Let the people spend their own money.”

Still others want a direction that embraces both schools of thought. What I’m doing is a compromise along those lines. I am proposing a capital outlay request, with benefits reaching a New Mexico citizen.

No, Mr. Rawson, I don’t want half a billion spent on state government. But I could conceive a quarter of a million spent on ME.

The following are items that would improve my way of life, provided through tax dollars that I helped generate in 2005 with all of the sales tax I spent on movie rental and the fuel taxes I spent traveling to cover high school football games across the state. I have itemized each item, but I hope for no line-item vetos:

• $200,000: A new home, preferably big enough to house an area for entertaining guests, along with a gym to maintain my health. The money would be reinvested in the community, as the commission would surely help some real estate agent and his or her family.

• $1,500: Tempur Pedic sleep system. By buying a name-brand sleep system — not a bed, a sleep system — I’ll be sure to be a well-rested citizen, able to do my best work whether it’s at my paid position or as a volunteer. Who couldn’t use a well-rested volunteer?

• $17,000: Transportation. A new Scion xB, stylish and efficient, would come nicely loaded with an adequate stereo system so I could listen to National Public Radio and stay informed. I could also buy from a New Mexico dealer, ensuring that another family benefits from the commission of my expenditures.

• $1,250: Fuel. Assuming I get 30 miles per gallon, with 15,000 miles traveled in 2006 and fuel at a price of $2.50 per gallon, a pre-paid fuel card worth this much would last through the year.

• $175: Training items. With New Mexico as a border state, it is always important to be well-versed in combating terrorism. That’s why purchasing the four season sets of FOX’s 24 program could keep me abreast of the latest possibilities in crime prevention.

• $899: Communication. With a new Sanyo high-definition camcorder, I could easily record things I have learned and help educate others throughout New Mexico. Think of it as a citizen training expense.

• $130: Leather massage chair. An item like this at my job would give me the motivation I need to come back from my lunch break early. There’s no telling how these extra few minutes, or my relaxation, could benefit readers.

Grand total: $220,954, or roughly .04 percent of the state’s revenue.

There you have it. A list of items that could help a New Mexico citizen, plus two other New Mexico families through trickle-down economics, and it’s about $4,000 less than my pre-determined quarter-million dollar budget. I expect this will be approved right away. A citizen should expect nothing less.

Kevin Wilson is a staff writer at the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 32, or by e-mail:
Kevin_Wilson@link.freedom.com