Santa Fe, NM – The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce is hosting four educational seminars on the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) on September 26th and October 23rd. Two seminars will be held each day – small businesses, under 50 employees at 9am and large businesses, 50 or more employees at 1:30pm.

The Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce has partnered with NMHIX in an effort to help outreach and educate all residents of Santa Fe on new options for healthcare coverage. This event is one of many that will be happening, now through the end of the year, to ensure that important information reaches all areas of the state and that all small businesses and individuals have an open forum to ask questions, understand options and learn about additional tools and resources to help them with new affordable coverage options.

WHO:                  Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce / New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX)

WHAT:                New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) Outreach and Education Seminars

WHEN:                September 26th and October 23rd, 9am (small businesses, under 50 employees) and 1:30pm (large businesses, 50 or more employees) each day

WHERE:              Hotel Santa Fe, 1501 Paseo de Peralta

REGISTRATION:  www.santafechamber.com or 988-3279

NO CHARGE TO ATTEND

CONTACT:          Simon Brackley

About New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange

New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) was created to help individuals and small businesses get access to affordable health insurance plans. NMHIX will also help consumers compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. NMHIX will help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance and if so, at what level.  Through SHOP, small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans.  Individuals and small businesses can start enrolling in NMHIX plans October 1, 2013 with coverage effective starting January 1, 2014.  Health Care Guides and brokers/agents are available throughout the state to help with signing up for NMHIX coverage.

For more information on NMHIX, please visit www.NMHIX.com

Education Secretary Hanna Skandera met with members of the Chamber Board in August and gave an update on education priorities at the state level.

Intervention Before Retention

The goal of this initiative is to ensure that all students are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade and prepared to learn.  This initiative ensures that all students, parents and teachers are given the tools necessary (early assessments and targeted interventions) to succeed in reading:

Supporting Struggling Schools & Rewarding Excellence

School grades were designed to identify and help struggling schools while highlighting successful schools. This system measures individual student growth over a three year period and the calculation model accounts for circumstances unique to each school. Graduation rates, and their improvement over time, are also factors.  By offering support to our struggling schools and rewarding schools that closing the achievement gap for their students, we are honoring our commitment to real accountability to achieve real results.

Rewarding and Championing Effective Teachers and Principals

Proposed legislation would align teacher advancement pathways within the three tier system to be based on effectiveness. Right now, advancement is based only on years of service and credentials, conflicting with New Mexico’s new evaluation system. Ensuring the two systems are aligned will not only better equip teachers for success, but also positively impact student achievement. Under the current binary evaluation system, a teacher either “meets competency” or does not and over 98% of teachers in New Mexico “meet competency”. This is not commensurate with our student achievement data. Studies have shown dramatic strides in closing the achievement gap when students are taught by highly effective teachers.

Above the Line vs. Below the Line

43% of the state’s budget goes to K-12 education and New Mexicans deserve to see a better return on their investment. The goal is to invest taxpayer dollars “below the line” on proven reforms that will yield measurable results for spending accountability.

 

 

 

In the past few months the Santa Fe City Council and other City committees have spent hours discussing topics such as gun control, same sex marriage, grocery bag bans, cell phone towers, marijuana use, global warming and fireworks impacts on pets.

Arguably, any decisions the Council makes have little or no impact on these issues. They are nice PR, show that we care, and achieve absolutely nothing for the average Santa Fe resident.

Meanwhile down here in the real world of messy local government we read this in the recent local media:

“Among U.S. cities with high pension costs, Moody’s notes that Santa Fe, New Mexico, has net pension liabilities equal to six times its operating revenue, worse than any other city.”

And this: “Santa Fe has more than $7 million in unpaid parking tickets on its books and another $4 million in unpaid utility bills. All together, city hall is looking to collect a total of some $14 million in unpaid bills.”

And this: “The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Commission unanimously approved a motion recommending that an independent audit of the 2008 parks and trails bond be conducted to determine: Were all bond monies spent specifically to improve parks and trails per the bond language? And how much of the bond monies were spent on city staff salaries?”

And this: “The City’s “questionable purchase” of a $500,000 data backup system that isn’t being used and appears to be nonfunctional.”

And this: ““Eleven city managers for the last three mayors is dysfunctional and a disservice to the citizens of Santa Fe,””

Clearly answers are needed. Local businesspeople are very concerned about these headlines and what the consequences are for our fiscal stability and reputation. Can we be sure that our tax monies are being spent in a prudent manner with appropriate oversight? Local residents and media should be paying attention to issues over which we can have some control and not be distracted by issues over which we have no control.

It is already election season with only 30 weeks left to campaign for mayoral and council seats. There are at least fifteen candidates who have already declared or rumored to be interested in running for local office. Ten of the fifteen have held public office before. Let’s all pay attention to their positions and experience. As voters we deserve leadership that focuses on efficient government and accountability.

DEPARTURE – November 17th, 2013

10 Days

16 Meals

Includes air from Albuquerque, hotels, tours, & most meals

PER PERSON RATES: Double – $3,249* Single – $3,549*

RSVP for an information meeting at the Santa Fe Chamber Office

On Thursday, August 15th

@ 8:15 AM

Travel through Portugal, Spain and France to witness the one of the most important Pilgrimage centers in the world.

The importance of Fatima dates to 1917, when 3 children are said to have seen the Virgin Mary. She told them 3 secrets: that World War I would end within a year (which it did), that 2 of the 3 children would join Mary within a year (two of the children died that year); and a third secret which said that the Pope would be shot at (this secret was just revealed in the past decade).

This trip is a wonderful opportunity to visit superb historic sites and beautiful scenery with a guide throughout the journey. The price is

fantastic, with airfare included from Albuquerque and most meals.

This is a trip not to be missed!