Housing allowances increase for new year

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will increase an average of 3.5 percent next year for the nearly 950,000 service members who live off base stateside. Some BAH recipients will see their housing allowance rise two to three times the average percentage increase while others will see no BAH raise in […]

Rural firefighters hang on after worst fire season in years

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Fueled by strong winds, the Nov. 30 Melrose Bombing Range fire consumed over 27,000 acres of land and kick-started one of the worst wildland fire seasons that this area has seen in years. As it continued into August, the fire season stretched the limits of rural fire department budgets […]

Investigators general make sleeping easier

Editorial The average American taxpayer doesn’t have a lot of friends “inside the Beltway.” Rather, most of the interest groups and individuals that make up the Washington establishment look at the people like tiny ATM machines, from which they want to maximize withdrawals. So today we pay tribute to the largely unsung heroes who are […]

Sunscreen needed to stop damage

Courtesy of the 27th Fighter Wing Health and Wellness Center Summer fun usually means enjoying the great outdoors due to better weather and the increase of outdoor opportunities. However, New Mexico summer usually means being exposed to direct high elevation sunlight and harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation while enjoying those activities. Though many of our best […]

County’s elected officials to receive 15 percent raise

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor After three tries, Roosevelt County commissioners finally passed a 15-percent pay raise for elected county officials Thursday and approved their $8.7 million interim 2006-07 budget. Commissioners convened briefly in a budget public hearing, in which no one spoke out, before taking up the interim budget. On Monday commissioners heard […]

County commissioners ponder pay increases, budget

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor Roosevelt County Commissioners favor a 5-percent pay increase for most county employees as part of the 2006-2007 budget. Salaries for elected officials are still up for debate. “The bottom line actually looks better this year than it has in the last four years,” County Administrator Charlene Hardin said. “Gross […]

Regents ponder budget woes

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer With budget numbers on their minds, the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents want to see more interaction between the community and athletics programs and more energy-conservation at the university. The board members emphasized their money concerns during a regents’ meeting Tuesday morning. Board members were concerned with […]

ENMU regents ponder fee rise

By Tony Parra Eastern New Mexico University students may see an increase in their tuition and fees next school year — an average of $180 to $200 per student. ENMU administrators during Friday’s Board of Regents’ meeting in Ruidoso presented a proposal to increase tuition and fees by 6.45 percent. “We will have either the […]

Senator happy with 2006 session, budget

Guest Commentary By Stuart Ingle The Legislature had an unprecedented opportunity to address many critical needs of the state and it vigorously grasped the opportunity with both hands during the session that ended last week. We were very deliberate in our decisions. I believe the entire state will benefit from the responsible budget we passed. […]

Minimum wage still on bubble

By Andy Jackson While it was unclear on Wednesday if lawmakers could agree on a bill to increase the minimum wage across New Mexico, the proposal could cost taxpayers more than $1 million — and that’s just counting employees of Clovis Community College and Eastern New Mexico University. Payroll at Clovis Community College will surge […]

House rejects, but quickly revives bill to increase state gasoline tax

By Barry Massey SANTA FE — The House did a quick about-face on a proposal that would increase the state tax on gasoline by 2-cents-a-gallon to help finance improvements to roads used by school buses. The bill initially failed Tuesday on a tie vote, 31-31, but a short time later the House revived the measure […]

Senate OKs key piece of spaceport plan

By Deborah Baker SANTA FE — A key element of Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan for a spaceport in southern New Mexico won overwhelming support from the Senate on Saturday. By a vote of 36-2, lawmakers approved a measure that authorizes cities and counties to increase gross receipts taxes — with voter approval — to finace […]

Bush mulls $439.3 billion defense budget

Staff and wire reports WASHINGTON — The Pentagon Friday announced plans to significantly increase special operations forces, expand psychological warfare and develop a program to counter biological terrorism as part of a new broadbased military strategy for the 21st century. The plan comes three days before President Bush sends Congress a 2007 budget that seeks […]

House approved budget is an 8.4 percent increase

By Barry Massey SANTA FE — State spending would increase by 8.4 percent next year to pay for public education and general government programs under a $5.1 billion budget bill approved unanimously by the House. About two-thirds of the proposed spending increase is directed at public schools and colleges and universities. The Senate approved a […]

Minimum wage bill features party-line split

By Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Local legislators exhibit a party-line split in the debate over whether to raise up the state’s minimum wage. Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, and Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, think if the minimum wage were raised from $5.15 to $7.50 as proposed, job cuts would result. “I think it hurts the economy. […]

Minimum wage bill has party-line split

By Andy Jackson: Freedom Newspapers Local legislators exhibit a party-line split in the debate over whether to raise up the state’s minimum wage. Rep. Anna Crook, R-Clovis, and Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, think if the minimum wage were raised from $5.15 to $7.50 as proposed, job cuts would result. “I think it hurts the economy. […]

Minimum wage bill moving through Legislature

By Deborah Baker SANTA FE — A minimum wage hike to $7.50 an hour easily passed a House committee on Thursday and even its opponents acknowledged some increase appears inevitable this year. The House Labor and Human Resources Committee voted 5-2 along party lines — Democrats for and Republicans against — for a bill that […]

Senate floor leader proposes tax break to soften minimum wage increase

The Associated Press SANTA FE — A top Democratic leader in the Senate is proposing a tax credit to help small businesses cope with the costs of paying their workers a higher minimum wage. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, introduced a measure Wednesday to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.50 an hour […]

House speaker pushes minimum wage ahead

The Associated Press SANTA FE — House Speaker Ben Lujan pledged Thursday to push ahead with a proposal to boost the state’s minimum wage to $7.50 an hour starting next year rather than phasing in the increase over three years as recommended by Gov. Bill Richardson. Lujan, D-Santa Fe, was joined by chairmen of key […]

City council approves pay raises

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer The Portales city councilors approved pay increases for city personnel during Tuesday’s city meeting, which for some city employees will be reflected in their next paycheck. City councilors approved the increase of the salary of the municipal judge from $15,500 a year to $20,000 a year effective on March […]