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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'We Are New Mexico' to Present a 'Better Budget'

We Are New Mexico released the following statement discussing its plans to submit a citizens' budget -- or what the organization is calling a 'Better Budget' -- to New Mexico's new governor and the legislature:

We Are New Mexico, a recently formed New Mexico political organization, aired radio commercials and distributed printed literature regarding the recent election for New Mexico’s next Governor expressing concerns that Susana Martinez had sought and received millions of dollars from out-of-state business interests to assist her in being elected New Mexico’s next Governor.

As an organization of New Mexico citizens, We Are New Mexico is concerned that those out-of-state interests and individuals are now going to be influencing the decisions on important policies affecting New Mexicans and the quality of their lives. These policy areas include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Education Priorities
  • Health Care, Medicaid
  • Childcare
  • Economic Development
  • Water Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Consumer Protection
  • Energy Development
  • Ethics in Government
  • Public Safety
  • Transportation Policy & Infrastructure
  • Community Development

We Are New Mexico appreciates the tremendous burden that Governor-Elect Susana Martinez has before her regarding balancing the State Budget without hurting New Mexicans in the process ... particularly some of the most vulnerable residents of our state.

A 'Better Budget'
We also understand that the Governor-Elect is going to need cooperation from all New Mexicans in this process; and in anticipation of the work ahead in January, we are in the process of developing a citizens’ budget ... what we would call a ‘Better Budget.’ The ‘Better Budget’ will be presented as a proposed outline for the new Governor and the new Legislature to review and consider in their mutual deliberations on the fate of New Mexico’s fiscal future. If the leadership of the new State Government honestly seeks to represent the interests of New Mexicans, it will at least give our proposal serious consideration.

We Are New Mexico expects the new Governor, Legislators and other citizen groups truly interested in helping our state’s residents through these difficult times to advance ideas for solutions ... not simply an ideologically driven agenda. And we support a serious debate of the honest and fair minded measures.

But we will be on the look-out for harmful proposals and policies that have been bandied about over the last several months, and represent the same policy that drove our national financial system to the brink of collapse in the fall of 2008, and continue to haunt efforts to turn the United States’ economy around.

We Are New Mexico will explore all avenues to turn around the deficit and New Mexico’s economy. We feel this is not the time to categorically dismiss any idea because of who brings it to the table, or simply because it does not fit the ideology of a new administration.

Therefore, we will include not only our ideas, but the ideas others have begun to advance in light of the coming 2011 Legislative Session. In presenting our ‘Better Budget’ to the Governor-Elect and the new Legislature, we will provide recognition of the people and organizations that have developed some of the components of our budget outline.

Some of the items We Are New Mexico is looking at include:

  • Bonding of Deficit Items.
  • Closing Foreign Corporate tax loopholes.
  • Review of top-heavy administrative positions vs. service positions.
  • Establishment of a ‘Blue Ribbon’ commission headed by the Governor and the Legislative leadership, and consisting of (but not limited to) business, organized labor and non-profit members to review state government and recommend long-term adjustments to make state government more effective in delivering the services that New Mexico’s citizens desire.
  • Provisions for an honest review and assessment of all tax incentives, to determine which actually create jobs and an improved New Mexican Economy.
  • A demand that proposed cuts are accompanied by an assessment of the impact on other aspects of New Mexico’s economy, fiscal status and especially on the most vulnerable people of our state.
  • Establishment of a permanent Executive/Legislative Economic Round Table which would be co-chaired by the Governor and leaders of both branches of the Legislature, and include members from the academic, business and organized labor communities. The Round Table would, amongst other items, focus on developing a demand-pull economic strategy for creating jobs (as Journal Business Outlook columnist Winthrop Quigley recently described), to supplement what exists today as a result of our reliance on the national labs for tangential development of product ideas.
  • Provide the LFC with an increased appropriation to enhance its Oversight Capability to review state agencies, and provide periodic and random review of all executive offices ... to encourage mandates and agencies to evolve in efficiency, as well as determine the efficacy of agencies that may appear to be outdated. In this regard, charge the LFC with seeking the advice and recommendations of rank and file state employees as well as managers of state agencies in its deliberations.

From this process We Are New Mexico hopes to enable the new Governor, the new Legislature and, more importantly, the people of New Mexico to have the BEST BUDGET when all is said and done as the next fiscal year begins.

We Are New Mexico expects to submit its ‘Better Budget’ proposal to Governor-Elect Martinez and the new Legislature in late December. And we wish all of us a productive effort.

November 17, 2010 at 06:42 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Economy, Populism, Government, NM Legislature 2011, Susana Martinez | Permalink


Fight on, 'WE ARE NEW MEXICO!"

Posted by: Ejército Libertador del Sur | Nov 17, 2010 7:24:59 PM

I heard coverage on KUNM about Paul Gessner and the Rio Grande Foundation's budget, apparently awaited with baited breath by the new governor.

I am glad to see a group like We Are New Mexico come into being. There is a total lack, across the landscape in the whole of the US, of organizations that can be a practical voice for progressive concerns in the process of government - at any level.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Nov 19, 2010 9:28:26 AM

It's a good thing for the Rio Grande Foundation that the ABQ Journal and KKOB radio exist. Otherwise, who would be taking their extremist proposals seriously? Paul Gessing, a right-wing fruitcake of the first order, is treated with an incredible amount of respect by these outlets and other sites like NM Watchdog that the Rio Grande Foundation helps to fund. Convenient, that is.

Here's a link to Gessing's beyond the pale proposals in case anyone wants a good laugh (or is it cry?) this morning: http://www.riograndefoundation.org/downloads/rgf_resolving_nm_budget.pdf

Shut down the Railrunner (and all the connected bus routes) because it doesn't make money! Just once I'd like to hear Gessing suggest we close down our highways and roads because they don't make money. Libraries, schools, playgrounds, parks -- none of these make money!

Get rid of the prevailing wage on public projects! Oh wait, this might run into trouble because there's way less access to undocumented workers you can pay $2 an hour to do the work.

Free nonviolent drug offenders from prisons and get them into treatment - but Gessing doesn't say how we'd pay for treatment. A minor point, I know.

Kill the film industry! Yes, kill an investment that brings in many jobs, taxes and salaries and ... replace it with what?

Gessing provides a distorted stat that says, "No other state dedicates more of its citizen’s personal income to higher education than New Mexico." Well, he kinda sorta just neglects the fact that this is because most states primarily fund education through property taxes that are very high compared with ours, not with income taxes. I guess he forgot about that.

Raise college tuition by more than 100%! Again Gessing omits consideration of why our tuitions are lower than other states -- we are a poor state and salaries and our cost of living are much lower than other states. Duh.

Oh, and as a job killing idea, Gessing wants to close branch campuses and community colleges in our rural and far flung state. Even though we allegedly want to improve our citizens' education level, let's make it harder for them to attend college!

Sell naming rights to the Spaceport! Well, except that the deal with a private entity has other rules in place about that. Once again, duh.

Posted by: barb | Nov 19, 2010 11:24:25 AM