I spoke to a reporter from Inside Sources about the massive 17% pay increases being given to Gov. Lujan-Grisham’s cabinet officers.
Here are a few key quotes from the story:
“New Mexico’s economy and its billion-dollar-plus surplus is being driven by oil and gas revenues,” Paul Gessing told InsideSources. “It’s nothing that state government is doing to enhance New Mexico’s business climate or particularly manage New Mexico’s economy well.
“So, these wages are being handed out with little or no justification,” he said. “There are no benchmarks to indicate why these top-level officials would deserve these raises,” adding that “New Mexico . . . [remains a] deeply challenged place, including — but by no means limited to — being a difficult climate for businesses, that have been dragged along by the national economy and booming oil production.”
New Mexico has 23 cabinet officials. One “benchmark” might be to compare New Mexico’s new salaries to other, similar states. For example, the number of Cabinet members in nearby Oklahoma, also an oil-rich state — is twelve. The population of New Mexico is just above 2 million, about half that of Oklahoma.