© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. The New Mexico Legislature is set to start and there are many plans being foisted upon the citizens for what needs to be done this session. Most do not address the reasons New Mexico is dead last in many categories and will not help the state arise from the bottom.
Some want to spend lots of legislative time on DWI laws. But over the years all rational people have given up drinking outside their home. All that are left are the people that do not follow laws and young drivers who do not realize that if you drink and drive it will mess up your life.
What New Mexico needs are the types of laws and rules other states have making them competitive for businesses and jobs. The biggest anchor around our collective necks is the lack of Right To Work laws. Those laws in other states prohibit unions requiring employee membership, dues and fees to be employed.
The unions have a political death grip on New Mexico so it is unlikely to change. Many companies with jobs bypass New Mexico. If this legislature wants to kick start the economy, it is the first thing they should do.
The main thing the legislature need to do is push the things that work rather than do the things that do not work. Example: If your horse dies, stop spurring and get off the horse. Find another one that is alive. What that means for New Mexico is quit doing what we have been doing for years and look at other prosperous states to emulate what they do to bring wealth to their citizens.
This is not rocket science but when I look at what leaders want to do in this session it seems none of them have noticed New Mexico is last in many lists. If not last, the state is close to the bottom. What we need to do is to copy states that are doing well.
It is not easy to become last in almost every category and it won’t be easy to stop being last because there are some politicians who prosper in an environment of failure and poverty. Still, this legislative session should endeavor to lift New Mexico out of the last places.
It seems that when the representatives in Santa Fe look at the decades upon decades of poverty in our state they would do something different. But they don’t. How long has it been this way? It makes me think of New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace in 1881.
Most remember him for his novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, partially written while in New Mexico. He was appointed territorial governor in 1878 and by 1881 could not wait to leave since he found corruption, gangs, violence and daily battles. Governor Wallace cautioned, “All calculations based on our experiences elsewhere fail in New Mexico.” That’s the New Mexico that was then and appears to be now.
One of the plans to make New Mexico better will do the opposite. We should already know it but it doesn’t seem that our representative understand. The plan is to take more money from the Permanent Funds to fund more stuff rather than cut back on government. They want to spend more money when our problem is not enough money.
New Mexico has a spending problem. We have too much government and even this session some want to increase the size of government when we can’t pay for what we already have. That’s the problem with raiding the Permanent Funds.
Know this: the reason for New Mexico having Permanent Funds is that extractive resources of New Mexico are finite. One day they will all be gone. The oil, gas, uranium, copper, potash, coal, lead, tin and other minerals will one day be gone.
Smarter leaders than we have now set up the Permanent Funds to compensate for extractives being mined out. Those funds provide lots of money for New Mexico. Now some want to take even more of the funds which may ultimately deplete them.
Other states have foolishly lost those kinds of resources. Let’s not do the same to New Mexico. They should remain a permeant resource.