Q&A: Senate District 10 Alan Hall

  • NAME: Alan Hall
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Lawyer
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Thirty years as a business lawyer in New Mexico, with emphasis on government and private finance, industrial revenue bonds, metropolitan redevelopment bonds, hospital operations and condominium law. Four years as a state regulator of coal mine reclamation in Missouri and New Mexico.
  • EDUCATION: B.A., Biology, University of Colorado, 1975
  • M.S., Agronomy, Colorado State University, 1979
  • J.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1990
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.hallfornm.com

1. What steps should the Legislature take to ensure New Mexico has a balanced budget amid falling oil prices and an economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak?

In the short term, capital improvements and other discretionary funding will need to be severely cut. In the long term, we need a serious review of governmental efficiency, particularly with respect to capital outlay and education.

2. What more, if anything, should the Legislature do to address a court ruling that found New Mexico is failing to provide a sufficient education to all students?

In terms of spending, the Legislature has done more than enough. The District Court ruling is an unconstitutional trespass on the authority of the Legislature, and should have been appealed. The Legislature should request (or compel, by non-compliance) the State Supreme Court to “clarify” the ruling.

3. What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?

The exemptions and deductions grow like Topsy, and need to be pruned regularly. However, I see no mechanical way to ensure this. Rather, it simply requires the election of legislators who have the necessary discipline.

4. Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?

I support it, reluctantly. New Mexico hardly needs yet another source of addiction, but there is no point in being the last state to climb on the bandwagon. The sales should be significantly taxed and regulated.

5. In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and child care assistance, and created a new early childhood trust fund. Do you support or oppose a constitutional amendment that would withdraw more money from the Land Grant Permanent Fund to increase funding for early childhood services?

I support a gradual and regularly audited increase in early childhood programs, including, particularly, post-natal home visits. But I am opposed to the constitutional amendment, which imposes a requirement to spend large sums of money regardless of whether or not they are being spent effectively.

6. Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?

Oppose, because it invites mischief. Party affiliation can be declared or changed with minimal effort, so the current requirements are no real barrier to a citizen voting in a race in which he or she has genuine interest.

7. Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?

I strongly support repeal. If Roe v. Wade is overturned (which seems likely), and this criminalization statute is still on the books, the ensuing War on Abortion (whose primary victims will be ordinary people) will be much worse than the War on Drugs.

8. Would you support a merit-based evaluation system to determine how the state spends its capital outlay funding? Should each legislator be required to disclose which projects he or she funded?

Yes, and yes. The current “system” is wasteful and disgraceful.

9. Do you support or oppose requiring lobbyists to disclose which bills they advocate for or against?

Oppose. Since lobbyists frequently support or oppose only portions of bills, or only seek to modify certain details of bills (by clarification of ambiguous language, etc.), I do not see how the proposed disclosure could provide any meaningful information.

10. New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What are the things you would do to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?

(1) Rapidly expand our renewable energy infrastructure, including transmission lines to carry our wind energy to its natural market in Arizona and California. (2) Promote New Mexico as a retirement destination. (This will require exempting social security benefits from income tax, and getting crime back to “normal”.)

11. Do you support or oppose updating the current prohibition in the law on assisted suicide in order to allow aid-in-dying under certain medical circumstances?

Support, but the devil is in the details. We should carefully review other states’ experiences prior to enacting any changes.

12: Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates as a way to address climate change concerns?

Oppose. A moratorium would do nothing to reduce the global supply of fossil fuels. Demand for fossil fuels, and corresponding carbon emissions, should be reduced by additional renewable energy mandates, and incentives such as a carbon tax offset dollar for dollar by a reduction in other taxes.

13. What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?

The criminal justice system — police, courts and prisons — simply needs more funding. Also, the recent bail bond reform is not working as it was intended, and needs a comprehensive and clear-eyed review.

14. Do you support or oppose the practice of legislative budget-writing committees holding closed-door meetings during the crafting of state spending bills?

Oppose. A live audience would be a distraction and is unnecessary, but the meetings should be streamed in real time.

Personal background

1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.

No.

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