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Think tank ranks New Mexico tax burden 37th

SANTA FE (AP) - A national report ranks New Mexico 37th in the country for combined state and local taxes paid by its residents.
    
The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation said in a study released last week that New Mexicans paid 8.6 percent of their per-capita income in taxes to state and local governments in the 2011 fiscal year. That's lower than the national average of 9.8 percent.
    
The tax burden of New Mexicans has been dropping - from 8.7 percent in 2010, 8.8 percent in 2009 and 9.4 percent in 2008. New Mexico ranked 40th in 2010.
    
New York had the highest tax burden at 12.6 percent and Wyoming was the lowest at 6.9 percent.
    
The study measures taxes paid by individuals and businesses in their home states and directly or indirectly in other states.

Best breakfast burrito in NM?

The New Mexico Tourism Department is looking for the best breakfast burrito in the state.

Starting on Monday, March 31, New Mexicans can nominate their favorite breakfast burrito for the "New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway." All nominations must come from the official online form at newmexico.org/burrito.

Nominations are open to New Mexico-based restaurants with a business license, in good standing with local and state Health Departments and with a bricks-and-mortar location.
The breakfast burrito must include egg, tortilla and New Mexico chile on the regular menu.

After the nomination period ends on April 13, online voters will then decide which fifty locations should become the founding members of the Breakfast Burrito Byway.

Work set to widen northwestern New Mexico highway

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) - State and Navajo Nation officials say funding is now in place to finishing widening a key northwestern New Mexico highway to four lanes.
    
Officials say the project will involve widening the remaining 21 miles of U.S. 491 near Sheep Springs, which is between Gallup and Shiprock. The highway formerly was designated U.S. 666.
    
Along with adding two additional lanes, the expansion will add a median and improve drainage.
    
The Gallup Independent reports that the work is expected to be finished in January 2017 and that State Transportation Secretary Tom Church says revenue bonds will finance the approximately $78 million project.
    

Farmington police release more details of shooting

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - Authorities say a driver who died after being shot by a federal officer earlier this month was driving erratically and exposing himself at stop lights.
    
Farmington police released more information Wednesday in the March 12 shooting of 26-year-old John Marszalek II.
    
They say Marszalek was shot during a confrontation after a chase and a crash and later died at a hospital.
    
Police say Marszalek was shot as he was stabbing himself in the throat after his vehicle continued to ram a Farmington police car.
    
Officers had already used a stun gun on Marszalek before the U.S. Marshal's deputy shot him.
    
Police say Marszalek was the subject of two police chases before the second one led to the collision and confrontation in which he was shot.

Court rejects appeal in swastika branding case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has refused to review the hate crime conviction of a New Mexico man who participated in branding a swastika on the arm of a Navajo man with mental disabilities.

The court acted Monday in the case of William Hatch, among the first people charged under a 2009 law targeting hate crimes involving disabilities or sexual orientation. Hatch and two other men lured Vincent Kee from a McDonald's in Farmington, N.M., to an apartment where they used a metal coat hanger to burn the swastika onto Kee's arm.

Hatch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a federal hate crime.

The case is Hatch v. U.S., 13-6765.

Suspect still wanted in Navajo Nation Christmas stabbing

The FBI is still looking for a man wanted in connection to a Christmas Day stabbing on the Navajo Nation.

Calvin Fuson, 43, is accused of stabbing a relative in the chest with a kitchen knife in Naschitti, N.M. The relative survived.

On Jan. 22, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Fuson after he was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon with the intent to do bodily harm.

The FBI describes Fuson as Native American, 6'10" tall and approximately 172 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and tattoos on both hands and his upper right arm.

At the time of the incident, Fuson was a resident of Gallup, N.M. He is considered armed and dangerous.

BLM seeks comments on energy connect project

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) - A regional electric provider is planning to build a new transmission line and other infrastructure between New Mexico and Colorado to meet growing demand throughout the San Juan Basin.

The transmission line being planned by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association would stretch 65 miles from Waterflow to Ignacio, Colo.

The utility says the line would also boost reliability of the region's electricity system.

The Bureau of Land Management has scheduled two public meetings next month to discuss the proposal.

The agency has reviewed potential environmental effects of the line and will be accepting public comments on its draft analysis through April 28.

The San Juan Basin has been seeing a resurgence of oil and natural gas drilling activity due to technological advancements aimed at tapping the region's shale deposits.