Q&A: Senate District 4 Candidate George Muñoz
- NAME: George Muñoz
- POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
- OCCUPATION: Self employed
- CITY OF RESIDENCE: Gallup
- RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: (no response)
- EDUCATION: New Mexico Military Institute, Gallup High, and University of Arizona
- CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: munozfornm.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?
We need to be overly cautious and focus on job growth. The economic indicators (https://tracktherecovery.org/) show us where we are with other states and how New Mexico needs to target job creation.
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?
The (state Public Education Department) must correct the state funding formula. A high school student in an impoverished rural area deserves the same education as a middle-class student in a large city. This is not a legislative problem. The PED has failed to provide equitable resources and funding to all students.
What changes, if any, should New Mexico make to its gross receipts tax code?
We need a full revision of the tax system to make us more competitive with other states. Our current tax codes hurt businesses and deter new companies. As a business owner for over 30 years, I support updating existing New Mexico tax codes.
Do you support or oppose legalizing recreational marijuana use in New Mexico and taxing its sales?
Federal legislators have passed this hot topic on to state legislators. I currently do not support legalizing marijuana; we have enough issues with alcohol in my district. I understand the positive economic impact that legalization could have, but we need to address some legalities before I could support it.
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 and in what specific ways?
I believe the governor should not have sole power and monetary controls of our state. It is time we start taking this control back for the people we represent. As state legislators, we should have direct lines of communication with the governor’s office in times of need.
Do you support or oppose repealing a long-dormant 1969 state law that outlaws abortion, except in limited circumstances?
This vote belongs to the people of my district and they should determine their own personal rights. Again, the federal legislators have pushed this down to states to determine the abortion issue, because it is such a hot topic.
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?
No, I oppose enacting a new state law allowing police and public officials to be sued. I would not oppose a new law holding rioters accountable for their damages and destruction to private and public property.
In recent years, New Mexico has steadily increased spending on early childhood programs, such as home visiting, prekindergarten and childcare 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 have supported the increases in funding for early childhood. The fund is set up for future generations. When we use these Land Grant Permanent Funds, it will cause a reduction in general funds. There must be accountability and there should be legal recourse for misuse of funds.
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?
We should require that funding in any election would require a public list of all donors and where they reside and why they are donating. I support open primaries to all parties.
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?
I would support a capitol evaluation system and more requirements that it be spent for projects that outlive the bonds. I do not mind disclosing, but it will create an animosity among cities counties and tribes.
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?
We need to tax long, stable resources and tax the transmission of energy (including solar) through New Mexico. The land commissioner should be required to only use the highest and best revenue source and not compete against private industry.
Would you support or oppose a moratorium on fracking? And should the state impose additional renewable energy mandates to address climate change concerns?
No, we have not addressed the issue of more revenue streams; the state must begin to tax renewable energy and transmission in New Mexico. I come from a district that will now be dismayed as we head down the renewable road.
What steps should the Legislature take to address crime and improve public safety?
Require the judicial system to follow the laws of NM and not think that they have the power to usurp all three branches of government.
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?
The footage should be available if needed in a court of law.
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?
A complete revision in tax policy is needed to compete with neighboring states.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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.