A few ideas for Gov. Lujan Grisham to consider in this time of crisis (revised and expanded with input)

With the economic challenge facing New Mexico in this crisis, here are a few small ideas for getting back to work and prioritizing what matters in these challenging times. The Rio Grande Foundation produced its original list of specific ideas and then reached out to the public online for additional ideas.

The full list which is being sent to Gov. Lujan Grisham is below.

  • Waive increases in unemployment insurance costs under the State’s formula. Consider rescinding the 4% raise given to public employees and used for that purpose.
  • Request a Section 1135 Medicaid waiver to eliminate burdensome rules with regard to Medicaid (Florida was just approved fort the first one in this emergency);
  • Allow full licensing reciprocity for qualified medical personnel from other states;
  • Relax occupational licensing rules and regulations so people can work. Giving haircuts in your home for money shouldn’t be a crime;
  • Suspend business licensing rules that interfere with solo or very small startups;
  • Re-purpose money from film subsidies (the industry, like most, has shut down in the State for now) and Rail Runner operations (the train is shut down as well) to health related initiatives;
  • Give state tax breaks to businesses that are able to continue to pay employees through shutdowns;
  • Instead of landlords shouldering the burden of unpaid rent, let the tenants pay with a form that provides the necessary documentation then allow the landlord to fully deduct that amount from his/her property taxes in the future. Government could even reimburse directly then deal with the back payments itself if it requires back payments.
  • Delay collection of property taxes since many are going to lose jobs or lose salaries for awhile.
  • Facilitate the transfer of workers being laid of from restaurants to be transferred, temporarily, to help out the food chain, like grocery stores stocking shelves, and unloading trucks for example. The State could facilitate with leaders in the food sector to make it happen and to compensate for wage differences.
  • State government should place a moratorium on any new State regulations at least for the duration of the crisis.
  • The governor, should immediately eliminate the SS tax on seniors
  • Businesses which have been forced to close should not be required to pay ANY expenses including loan payments, utilities, rent and vendor invoices. Those payments should be absorbed by the state. The Land Grant Permanent Fund should be considered as a means of helping the State “backstop” these efforts.
  • Schools are closed for at least three weeks and may be closed for the rest of the school season. Funds devoted to that period of time should be diverted to relieve businesses that have been shut down by the State.
  • The Gov. and PED should work with virtual education providers to increase and improve education options for students in traditional public schools.
  • With the Four Corners already struggling and natural gas prices (a main economic driver of the area falling from already-depressed levels) the State of New Mexico must give Enchant Energy a chance to see if its carbon sequestration plans to keep San Juan Generating Station open (and people working at the Plant and mine) will work.
  • The Rail Runner is shut down. Now is the time to consider whether continuing this money-losing service is necessary.
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13 Replies to “A few ideas for Gov. Lujan Grisham to consider in this time of crisis (revised and expanded with input)”

  1. Accelerate letting contracts for all infrastructure projects that are funded. This wiil benefit Many small businesses and provide jobs for many of the workers being laid off as the oil/gas industry cuts back

  2. Selectively add back capital outlay projects but at prevailing contract rates (not Davis Bacon rates) to put as many people back to work on ready projects as possible.

  3. Good Ideas! During times like this, state government needs to think outside the box and provide REAL solutions, not trying to make political points! It needs to be PEOPLE over politics! Here’s an idea: the $$$ ($250 million for hollywood) we are giving the film industry, let’s put it back to work for the citizens of New Mexico! During the COVID-19 crisis they won’t need it!

  4. This seems like exactly the type of crisis to tap into the Permanent Fund. If I recall, that fund has over 20 BILLION dollars sitting in it right now. Tapping the fund would backstop the losses that are going to occur, and have already occurred, to businesses, landlords and those that have lost their ability to make a living during this crisis. I don’t have all the answers of HOW, but I do know that we could take 10% of the Permanent Fund and likely prevent our citizens from losing their way of life…and we’d still have $18 BILLION dollars to invest moving forward.

    1. There is a lot of truth to this. Quite honestly we don’t have the same love for the permanent fund as many on the right do. It is simply deferred government spending. We won’t be out making this point right away though. We need the government to make cuts to a lot of what has been happening spending-wise in this state. We will fight tooth and nail against tax hikes. The left is actually pitching a fit ALREADY about talk of tapping the permanent fund. They have BIG plans for that money.

  5. There is a significant amount of capital outlay from past years that has not been committed to the designated projects. An in-depth review of capital outlay may provide a source of funds. An alternative would be to energize the funded projects and put the construction industry to work. This has the two pronged effect of creating jobs and increased revenue through PIT and GRT.

  6. If hairdressing salons are shut down to curb the spread of the coronavirus, why would letting someone cut hair for money in their home be a good idea?

    Customers trooping in and out of a private residence isn’t really an improvement over folks coming and going to a retail store front.

    1. That is a fair comment. I suppose it could involve a few close friends and neighbors, but I think your point is well taken.

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