State residents must have access to credit | Letters to the Editor
Over the weekend I read a comment in The New Mexican of Santa Fe In the state’s view, it lacked leadership when it came to regulating the New Mexico lending industry (“Leadership Lacks to End New Mexico’s 175% Interest Rate Ringside Seat, December 13). While parts of the article deserve real consideration, the crux of the matter is access to credit for the most vulnerable in our communities. It is generally a responsible part; However, I think there are some examples offered that require further consideration.
For example, while it is correct that 18 states have cap rates, only three actually have the hard cap of 36% that the article refers to. The other remaining states are flexible. For example, Ohio excludes payday lenders and title loans in Arizona. Such exemptions are not a problem for New Mexico, as it is well known that these predatory lenders are indeed banned in the state. The article touts the success of the Military Lending Act rate cap. Earlier this year, a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey found that active service members were more than twice as likely to take out a cash advance or payday loan in 2020 than in 2019.
All New Mexicans need access to credit, and many don’t have a credit score or bank account for the kinds of options that many people take for granted. Is the 36% rate cap the right way to protect consumers, or will it dry up credit for underserved communities? When they choose to address this issue, let’s make sure the state legislature is doing what is right for our state.
New Mexico African American Room
I salute Dr Dominick DellaSala’s wise words (“Forests Need Fire – Communities Don’t”, My View, December 12) in our local newspaper this Sunday. Now we can hear an expert account on climate change and forest management in which he questions the practices of managers in our Santa Fe National Forest. Carbon pollution from extensive logging and prescribed burning do not solve the problems of forest fires. He and his colleagues looked at a collection of 1,500 fires over a forty-year period, which showed that forests protected from logging burned with less intensity. Dr DellaSala concludes that we should not build more roads and cut down millions of trees that naturally store carbon, thus slowing climate change. I appreciate and share his vision of preserving our natural forests and “giving the next generation of trees, shrubs and flowering plants more time to regenerate”.
The December 8 edition of Pipeline and Gas Log had an article on the Permian Basin of New Mexico. According to major driller Conoco via the remarks of its executive vice president Tim Leach, “the cost of producing the Permian [of oil] is the lowest in the world at the moment. It costs less than $ 30 to produce a barrel of oil. This leaves plenty of room for companies to deal with flaring and the release of natural gas.
Gas is less lucrative than oil, so it is often released into the atmosphere or flared. However, with such a large profit margin, producers are now in a better position to flare gas. In the Permian in 2019, 293 million cubic feet were flared. That’s enough to heat homes in New Mexico for two years, just burnt down. In addition, this represents $ 1.2 billion of gasoline which would otherwise provide taxes and royalties. Lawmakers and the governor should stop polluting our air by bowing down to oil and gas interests. Flaring and gas evolution should stop. Complete stop.
Don’t insult New Jersey
I was very insulted by your opinion piece (“It’s time to fix Albuquerque before it’s too late,” Our View, December 14) in which you said New Mexico could become New Jersey of the desert. What would make you denigrate New Jersey? I am a former New Jersian. While New Jersey has its problems, in many ways – education for one – New Jersey is far superior to New Mexico. I even wonder if New Jersey has less crime than New Mexico. How about an apology and a promise never to insult another state for a joke? Shame on The New Mexican.