Would you vote for the creation of an Independent Ethics Commission to provide oversight of the executive and legislative branches of government in New Mexico? Yes, though I don’t believe the previous Independent Ethics Commission proposals go far enough. I am finalizing a bill to establish an independent Public Accountability Board, which will have real enforcement and decision-making capabilities over both state and local officials, to be introduced in the 2017 Legislative Session.
What measures would you take to make New Mexico state government transparent, accessible and accountable to the public? I was the successful sponsor of the transparency law requiring 72-hour notices of public meetings. In addition, I was honored to receive Common Cause’s Best in Government Award for my work improving New Mexico’s elections. My ethics bill will additionally provide much needed accountability in records requests and open meetings.
Would you give permission to the Legislative Council Service to make publicly available the final amounts you personally allocate to various capital outlay projects? I have already placed my capital outlay allocations on my website -- www.IveySoto.com -- and categorized them under issues (education, economic development, etc.). This way no one needs to make a special request and it is available to the public.
If you think reform of the capital outlay system is needed, how would you reform it? If you don't think reform is needed, give us your reasons. We have the worst capital outlay process in the nation -- it must be reformed. The tension lies in asking all 112 Legislators to give up their power to appropriate and to ensure each district receives some small funding. It will not be easy, but the current system is broken.
Does New Mexico need to invest more in early childhood development? If you think it does, in your opinion what is the best way to invest? If you don't think New Mexico needs to invest more, tell us why. The best long-term investment we can make in New Mexico is early childhood education, coupled with a solid home visitation program. My preference is not to use the permanent fund, but if no other financing is available, then this issue is too important and we must tap the permanent fund.
What measures would you take to improve the state's long-term economy? We need comprehensive tax reform. Our Gross Receipts Tax has been made Swiss cheese by all the exemptions, which also raises the tax on the rest of us. What we have now is anti-business. In addition, we need comprehensive criminal justice reform to be smart on crime with treatment options.
Would you support the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use in New Mexico? Why or why not? Support.