Q&A: Senate District 18 Candidate Bill Tallman

  • NAME: Bill Tallman
  • POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
  • OCCUPATION: Retired city manager
  • CITY OF RESIDENCE: Albuquerque
  • RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: Over 30 years as a city manager or deputy city manager in several mid-sized cities with emphasis on finances, economic development and personnel & labor relations. New Mexico State senator 2017-2020
  • EDUCATION: BA, Syracuse University; MPA, University of Cincinnati
  • CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: billtallman.com

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?

Enact tax reform by eliminating some of the hundreds of credits, deductions and exceptions resulting in a lower GRT. Diversify the economy by promoting the outdoor recreation industry, the wind and solar industry and film industry Also, the state should promote the commercialization of discoveries created at our national labs.

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?

Improve the quality of pre -school programs, increase and promote parental involvement programs and develop innovative ways to meet the needs of all children. We need to elevate the status of the teaching profession since high quality teaching has proven to have a significant impact a student’s educational outcomes.

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

Enact tax reform by eliminating some of the hundreds of tax exemptions, credits and deductions. This would permit the GRT to be lowered by a substantial amount.

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

I support assuming the proper safeguards and regulations are included in the authorizing legislation. We have the luxury of learning form the mistakes made by those states which have preceded NM in permitting the use of recreational marijuana. The police can now redirect their efforts to serious crimes.

Do you believe changes should be made to the emergency powers held by a governor during a pandemic or other time of crisis. If so, do you believe such powers should be expanded or reduced.

Only in the area of expending emergency funds. New Mexico has not experienced the high number of deaths and positive cases per capita such as Texas and Arizona. Many US citizens failed to follow best practices. Had more states imitated NM, then we would now be much closer to approaching “normal.”

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

I support since the decision should be made between a woman and her health care provider.

Do you support or oppose enacting a new state law that would allow police officers and other public officials to be sued individually by abolishing the defense of qualified immunity?

Qualified immunity needs to be amended, but not necessarily abolished. The law should be changed to protect the public from egregious, outrageous behavior on the part of public officials while at the same time protecting public officials from being sued and second guessed in court. A difficult balancing act.

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, but only by an amount not to exceed one half of one percent. The vast majority of financial investment advisers recommend that the annual distribution not exceed 5%. Currently, the rolling average is 4.3%. It is not a “rainy day” fund. It was established to provide reliable education funding.

What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its election laws and primary system? Do you support or oppose opening the state’s primary elections to voters who aren’t affiliated with either major political party?

I support open primaries so as not to disenfranchise independent voters who are not registered with a party. There has been a steady and growing trend of not registering with any party in NM as well as across the country. NM is one of only 17 states with a closed primary.

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?

In 2019 I sponsored SB 324 which would have created a committee of legislators and appointed officials to evaluate and prioritize capital spending. Also, in 2020 I sponsored SB 144 which would have required the public disclosure of all capital projects funded by each legislator.

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 steps should the state take to diversify its economy and revenue base.

See Question 1 answer. Also, New Mexico needs to upgrade its electric grid in order to efficiently transport our renewable energy production.

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?

We need to promote and incentivize the increase of alternative energy sources to greatly reduce the demand for oil and gas and consequently, less need to frack. Support mandates only if market place incentives are not producing the desired results or not meeting our 2045 goals.

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

Crime fighting is basically a local responsibility, however the state might provide seed money for local government to implement community policing, assist in DWI enforcement, assist in investigations of serious crimes and provide mental health services for mentally ill defendants.

Do you support or oppose the public’s right to inspect footage taken by cameras worn by law enforcement officers? Under what circumstances, if any, should police video be withheld from the public?

I support, however there will have to be exceptions such as protecting an individual’s privacy, not exposing confidential informants and not releasing footage during an ongoing investigation. It is a very difficult balancing act between protecting an individual’s privacy and the public’s right to know.

Members of New Mexico’s business community contend some state laws and regulations need changing so the state can better compete with Texas and Arizona when it comes to attracting companies. What steps do you believe should be taken to improve New Mexico’s economic competitiveness?

New Mexico can become more competitive by reforming our GRT tax code, improving infrastructure, increasing broadband, and implementing more job training opportunities. We must focus on educational outcomes and improving crime rate.

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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