A BRAC for NM higher education?

The latest figures from the Legislative Finance Committee include $232 million of “new” money for the Legislature to spend in 2016. I hope they don’t actually expect that money to be there, however. In fact, it would be great if we could see some actual belt-tightening in Santa Fe. There is plenty of waste and unnecessary spending throughout the budget.

One area that the RGF has covered in the past is higher education. According to our friends at the National Education Association, New Mexico spends 7th most among US states on higher education and 4th most among the states on capital spending in higher education (see charts H-7 and H-18 of the linked document).

In that vein, I ran across an article entitled “A BRAC for UNC” from the Carolina Journal. The idea being to apply the successful Base Realignment and Closure Commission which has been done successfully at the federal level, to the proliferating number of campuses and institutions in higher education.

This is an ambitious reform idea. New Mexico will not likely lead the way, but hopefully North Carolina will do it and we’ll be able to see how things work out there first. Unfortunately, given the moribund New Mexico economy, rapidly-declining price of oil, and rising cost of Medicaid, we may not have time to wait for results from the Tarheel State.