New Mexico gives away $5 billion of our tax dollars every year. Some of these tax giveaways make sense. Some of these breaks might not, but a law that would have made it easy to track this was vetoed. Hopefully we get a law that lets us see this so things can be assessed. It may be that some things are over taxed and that can be changed. It could also be that some things are under taxed and that could help deal with revenue shortfalls. We wouldn't have to worry about Richardson cutting the education budget.
Taxes are the dues we pay for benefits like schools, emergency responders, and parks. Knowing our common wealth is put to good use makes us feel good. Making sure our taxes serve the common good requires that we know what is going on and respond to that. It also requires that make requests and demands on how our money is spent.
So your voice and your vote is important. We may start by individually letting politicians know what we think. Then we may move toward making a request. If we are civic-minded in any way we realize that this works better as a part of a group.
From there you make your stance on the issue public, creating more pressure. Now if you are only concerned about issues and think the political system is fine you stop there, winning or not. But if you think the system has problems you continue.
You start to identify leaders that really represent your community and you ask them to run. You build a voter base through voter education and get out the vote drives. After the elections you keep people on the elected officials and get commitments for action.
La Raza Unida is doing just that. What we are adding is the building of an independent political base by registering people La Raza Unida (LRU). This is an extra challenge and also exciting. There is little vision and knowledge for most people on multi-party democracy. That's fine, we'll build it one person at a time. We have a small and solid base, and it is growing as the 60% of people who want more alternatives find them.
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