$2 billion surplus an opportunity, but do New Mexico leaders have the vision?

The latest numbers are in and New Mexico’s expected budget surplus continues to grow. It is now an astonishing $2 billion. With the State’s general fund spending at just over $6 billion, that is a a lot of money and a major opportunity for the Legislature and the next Gov.

Unfortunately, as the KOB TV story above notes, the vision laid out for how to use that money is hardly compelling. House Speaker Brian Egolf says, “We see the possibility of hiring, over the next five years, as many as 10,000 teachers in New Mexico.”

This is an insane proposal on its face. New Mexico currently has just over 22,000 K-12 teachers according to Ballotopdia.. Add to that the reality that New Mexico is already facing a teacher shortage and is literally “importing” foreign teachers and the idea of increasing the number of teachers in New Mexico classrooms by 50% is laid bare as truly impossible and the expected quality of that massive new crop of teachers must be among the concerns with such proposals .

According to research on smaller class-sizes from center-left Brookings Institute:

Class-size reduction has been shown to work for some students in some grades in some states and countries, but its impact has been found to be mixed or not discernable in other settings and circumstances that seem similar. It is very expensive. The costs and benefits of class-size mandates need to be carefully weighed against all of the alternatives when difficult decisions must be made.

For his part the article notes, a Pearce spokesman says, he will “direct new funds to major infrastructure improvements including rural broadband, water, and safer roads for all New Mexicans as well as getting more funds into the classroom for students and teachers.”

Those are hardly the ideas to really change New Mexico’s economy in any dramatic way. Ironically, they barely differ from those being put forth by Pearce’s opponent:

The Rio Grande Foundation would like to see GRT reform, pension reform, and, if possible, some kind of rebate to the taxpayers of New Mexico. Is anyone in Santa Fe listening?

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5 Replies to “$2 billion surplus an opportunity, but do New Mexico leaders have the vision?”

  1. #NMPOL


    Return 1/2 of it in the form of a tax rebate to individual taxpayers in the state. That could be hundreds of dollars or more.

    Why is this so hard?

  2. #NMPOL


    Return 1/2 of it in the form of a tax rebate to individual taxpayers in the state. That could be hundreds of dollars or more.

    Why is this so hard?

  3. I’ve lived in NM for many years. Everyone knows that the state has had single party Dem rule for most of the last 87 years (since 1931). For example, the last time Republicans held a majority on the state Supreme Court was in the 1920’s. The last time that Republicans held a majority in the state house and state senate at the same time was 1930. The enormous problems that NM has (poverty, miserable public schools, crime and miserable employment, other than oil and gas) have occurred mainly under Dem rule. Yet this fact is never mentioned by the Albuquerque Journal, local tv news or even the Republicans. It’s almost as though there is a “gentlemen’s agreement” not to bring the subject up. It’s really quite remarkable. It’s also an example of the ineptitude of the Republican party in NM.

    1. Thank you for accurately stating the obvious. Yet the Dems in power since 1931 keep spending as much as they can on money gobbling trains and the film industry in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and do so very little for the oil producing (SE & NW) areas which are consistently bringing in big tax revenues.

  4. WHY do we have to spend the money???? I say save most of it for a rainy day as we will always have good times and bad times. I would agree some could be spent for one-time expenditures like infrastructure projects. Other proposals I’ve heard are would commit us to recurring spending like the hiring of teachers, expanding pre-school (I’m so tired of hearing that)and the like. Do not forget we have to pay for the disastrous Rail Runner. Maybe pay that off and charge enough for use that it pays for it’s operation.
    The above suggestion of a taxpayer refund would work for me too.

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