ABQ Journal/cartoonist further elaborate on NM’s workforce participation problem

The ABQ Journal (presumably) capped off its series of reports on New Mexico’s poor workforce participation rate with an excellent editorial and appropriate cartoon by Trever.

Unlike the articles by the various reporters who relied on comments from politicians, the editorial board provided much more robust discussion of reforming welfare programs, improved vocational education, and broadly incentivizing work.

We welcome the Journal’s coverage of the issue and hope that New Mexico’s elected officials will do something productive to address the issue.

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Lujan Grisham extends public health order to August 26

Surprising absolutely no one, Gov. Lujan Grisham has (yet again) extended her public health order relating to COVID 19 for another few weeks, this time until August 26.

There are some changes in the latest order to limit the amount of reporting necessary by businesses and other entities, but the fact remains that Lujan Grisham shows no signs of abandoning her “emergency” powers.

An interesting quote from David Scrase as the Gov.’s COVID advisor attempts to justify what can only be described as a failed response to COVID by the Lujan Grisham Administration, “Over the past eight months we have excelled in implementing the tools to minimize the spread of COVID-19 such as: vaccines, boosters, home testing and oral treatments that have helped reduce hospitalizations and deaths.”

Sadly, New Mexico ranks 6th highest in deaths per capita due to COVID and New Mexico was ranked 3rd-worst among US states by the definitive study of state COVID responses:

 

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NM Policymakers ignore rankings at their (and our) peril

Recently, a group of New Mexico legislators heard numerous negative comments regarding the State’s business climate from national organizations like Tax Foundation and the Council on State Taxation.

As Dan Boyd at the Albuquerque Journal noted, New Mexico achieves poor marks in several categories relating to business taxation. Here are a few choice quotes, “I think we have to take a lot of those so-called rankings with a grain of salt,” Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos. Furthermore, Sen. Liz Stefanics, D-Cerrillos, said factors like a state’s population and average income levels should be factored into tax rankings, but frequently are not.

These comments reflect nothing more than a case of denial. There are two kinds of data: anecdotes and hard data and if New Mexico was one of the fastest growing, most economically successful states (independent of the oil and gas industry), that would be one thing, but very few people believe that New Mexico has a thriving, diversified economy that could survive a major hit to the oil and gas industry on which it relies.

And it’s not JUST economic policy on which New Mexico fails, our policymakers are also failing our kids as the recent “Kids Count” report highlights. These people have no plan to improve New Mexico so they simply deny that a problem exists.

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Florida vs. New Mexico? Really?

With GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis coming to Southeast NM over the weekend in support of Mark Ronchetti’s campaign to unseat Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, some current and former Democrat politicos in New Mexico have attempted to throw “shade” at DeSantis.

Rep. Liz Thomson also had these “kind” words to say about DeSantis regarding his more open COVID policies.

But whatever you think of DeSantis, it is hard to find ANY significant policy area where Democrat-dominated New Mexico performs better than DeSantis’ state of Florida (which has been much more politically-competitive but overall more conservative).

Despite Rep. Thomson’s statement above, Florida has performed better on COVID;

On the recently-released “Kids Count” report (by a left wing think tank), Florida ranked 35th while New Mexico came in dead-last.

According to Wallethub, New Mexico spends the 28th most on K-12 while our results are 51st while Florida spends 44th most but performs 14th-best.

RGF put the following together awhile back on a variety of data points which all point towards Florida.

If you can find a legitimate measure of governance in which New Mexico outperforms Florida, please email it to us: info@riograndefoundation.org

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Europe’s anti-energy policies are harming citizens, will Americans follow the same bad policies?

The problems faced in many European countries that have abandoned traditional energy sources has been exposed due to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. European nations will either adopt better policies or continue to suffer. And by suffer it isn’t just prices, in Germany they are rationing hot water now and telling people to prepare for home heating to be limited this winter.

It is not widely known by Americans that the UK banned “fracking” in 2019. The UK actually has decent prospects for oil and gas, but the anti-fracking policy makes it impossible to get them. What does this mean in practice? It means massive increases in utility bills in the UK which also means that businesses and energy-intensive industries will be unable to compete.

If US and New Mexico policymakers from Joe Biden to Martin Heinrich and Michelle Lujan Grisham have their way, we’ll be energy poor like Europe soon.

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Lujan Grisham announces broadband plan: will it benefit Democrat legislator?

Gov. Lujan Grisham has announced a new $123 million grant program to expand broadband access in New Mexico. The effort, financed in part through legislation passed in the Legislature in the 2021 special session  will award grants to cover up to 75 percent of total project costs for network expansion in unserved and underserved areas of the state. See graphic below:

Interestingly, one of the prime beneficiaries of this spending is Sceye with operations in New Mexico which is supposed to launch dirigibles to provide broadband service to areas lacking traditional broadband. Sceye’s general council is none other than Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil. Of course Hochman-Vigil was present in the Legislature to vote on HB 2 in the affirmative.

 

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Tipping Point Episode 428: Jeremy Gay – Candidate for New Mexico Attorney General

On this week’s interview Paul sits down with Republican Attorney General candidate Jeremy Gay. Paul and Jeremy discuss the role of Attorney General in New Mexico. What can he do to fight out-of-control crime? What are some limits of the office? What is the role of the AG in the economy? Will Jeremy allow billionaires like Michael Bloomberg pay the salaries of employees in the AG’s office as current AG Hector Balderas has done? Gessing and Gay discuss this and numerous other issues.

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PNM believes Avangrid merger is a “done deal”

Whatever you may think of the PNM/Avangrid merger that had been rejected by all five members of New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission, the folks at Seeking Alpha seem to be on-target in their view that the merger is a “likely to close.”

Based on conversations and marketing materials like that below, it appears that once Gov.  Lujan Grisham names the new Commission to their seats on January 1 (under New Mexico’s new constitutional amendment), they will approve the merger.  After all, you don’t get the kind of branded marketing materials like for this upcoming balloon glow in Corrales without some level of confidence that the merger is indeed happening.

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Tipping Point NM Episode 427: Kids Count Report, Spaceport Delay, Electric Vehicles, Workforce Participation and more

During this week’s conversation Paul and Wally discuss the recently-passed and poorly-named “Inflation Reduction Act.” What’s in the bill and why is it so bad?

Next, the latest “Kids Count” report put out by Annie E. Casey Foundation and Voices for Children is out and New Mexico is back to 50th. What does it mean and why does “Voices” wish to undermine the findings of their own report?

Virgin Galactic announced that it has again moved back its launch date from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. News articles indicate even more serious issues with the company’s spacecraft.

The City of ABQ has offered “free” bus service in recent months. While there is little evidence of success, “free” bus ridership could prove very expensive.

A few months ago ABQ City Council gave $250,000 to Planned Parenthood. They will be voting on August 15 to potentially redirect that money.

A new report by Axios includes some interesting data on electric vehicles and their lack of market penetration.

The ABQ Journal has additional reporting on workforce participation.

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No electric vehicles on the market today qualify for the new EV tax credit

The headline of this blog post is the same as that of a recent article from The Verge. The new EV tax credit is contained in the wasteful and misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act.” The legislation includes a $7,500 tax break for the purchase of electric vehicles.

But, the rules are written in such a way as to effectively disqualify every EV that’s currently on the market today because the rules adopted in the legislation mandate that  eligible vehicles use batteries that are made in North America.

China currently produces 76 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries, while the U.S. produces only 8 percent.

Automakers could ask for waivers from the requirements, given the precedent that allowed many manufacturers to avoid “Buy America” rules that were enacted as part of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law, according to Politico.

The obvious solution is for the US to increase domestic mining for lithium and other components of EV’s, but the very same “environmental” groups pushing EV’s tend to be the loudest in shutting down proposed mining operations. 

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