Our monthly news buffet
By Nora Hickey
The Candy Lady can
Well-known purveyor of sweet treats, Old Town’s Candy Lady will soon leave its original location. Debbie Ball, the real Candy Lady, has sold handmade confections ranging from typical chocolates to “fake meth” (blue rock candy) to masses of Albuquerque residents and tourists from the same adobe storefront for 30 years. The once amicable relationship with her landlord soured when Ball received a three-day eviction notice in early January. After years of negotiating a month-to-month rent amount, Ball and her landlord Bob Simon reached an impasse in an agreeable payment. The landlord and real estate lawyer claims that Ball repeatedly failed to sign a lease presented to her in October. Ball maintains that it’s unreasonable to ask a small business owner in a capricious market to pay a costly fixed rent each month. Although Ball will meet her landlord in court later this month, she is determined to find a new location to turn this bitter ending back to sweet.
Microbreweries toast a tax break
The landlord and real estate lawyer claims that Ball repeatedly failed to sign a lease presented to her in October. Ball maintains that it’s unreasonable to ask a small business owner in a capricious market to pay a costly fixed rent each month.
Under a new bill approved by Gov. Martinez and the State Legislature, New Mexico breweries can now produce greater amounts of beer and sell the suds at a reduced tax rate. The former tax rate of 40 cents-per-gallon has dropped to 8 cents for a microbrewer’s first 10,000 gallons produced and sold in-state. More than 10,000, but below 15,000, gallons will incur a 28-cents-per-gallon fee, and upwards of 15,000 gallons results in the former rate of 40 cents. Brewers in Albuquerque see the ratification of the excise tax as an opportunity to grow their businesses in product, employment and revenue. Local potion heroes Marble, La Cumbre and Tractor all hope to expand in light of the tax break which will end in 2023. Although approximately $250,000 of state tax revenue will be lost with the lower taxation, the New Mexico Brewers Guild and legislators expect increased consumption and sales tax will eclipse previous revenue.
Sowing longevity with new NM legislation
New Mexico Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Luján have introduced legislation offering opportunities for preservation of Native American seeds. Under the Native American Seeds Protection Act, tribes in all states could apply for grants relating to Native American seeds with the help of qualified research institutions and the Secretary of Agriculture. The New Mexico reps, both members of the Congressional Native American Caucus, hope to ensure the purity of seeds used in agricultural, religious and medicinal settings in numerous native communities.
Regarding the use of seeds in New Mexico, Lujan Grisham said, “These seeds represent not only food and sustenance; they represent a way of life.”
At Tesuque Pueblo, just north of Santa Fe, pueblo members practice a centuries-old sowing and harvesting technique. According to Tesuque Pueblo Gov. Mark Mitchell, the agricultural custom is threatened by “transgenic presence, environmental contaminants” and other factors. With the passing of the Native American seeds act, the pueblo could reap the unchanged benefits of native seeds for years to come.
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