NM 6th in growth … for state spending

From Capitol Report New Mexico - Economic downturn be damned, in the space of 10 years state government spending increased in every single state in the nation between 2001-2011 and New Mexico racked up the sixth-largest rate of growth.
     The numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau and are compiled by the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank that calls for “fundamental tax reform and restoring America’s global tax competitiveness” and is considered right of center politically.New Mexico saw a 41.8 percent increase in direct state spending in real dollars per capita from 2001 to 2011.
     Only Louisiana, Wyoming, New Jersey, Arizona and New Hampshire saw bigger increases. Every state saw escalations and only one — Alaska (at 8.9 percent) — saw its spending numbers go up less than 10 percent.
     New Mexico’s numbers did not surprise Paul Gessing, the president of the Rio Grande Foundation, the free-market think tank based in Albuquerque that champions low tax rates. “Spending really exploded during the heyday of the Richardson Administration (when the national and state economies were strong prior to 2008),” Gessing said in an e-mail. “And, while Richardson really opened the taps to bigger spending, that overspending ended in New Mexico and elsewhere in the economic downturn.”
     Bill Jordan of New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit in based in Albuquerque considered left of center, said of the map, “The real question is not whether spending is growing or not, but whether it is meeting basic needs. More

NM receives early childhood education funds

New Mexico will receive a $12.5 million federal grant for its smallest learners, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday. 
The grant is part of the federal Race to the Top program, in which states compete for education grants that reward certain types of reform. This is in addition to a $25 million Race to the Top grant for early learning the state received last year. 
The money will be used to create systems that track students’ progress in preschool and provide them with support before elementary school. Specifically, it will be used to expand teacher training opportunities, create a student data system that different agencies can access and develop a kindergarten assessment process that will be consistent statewide. 
Some of these programs have already begun, but opportunities for students are expected to dramatically increase in August, according to the news release. 
Fourteen states received money through the “early learning challenge” portion of Race to the Top.