Add another free market think tank to the mix in New Mexico?

I have long touted the Rio Grande Foundation as “New Mexico’s only free market think tank.” I stand behind that statement, but must admit that I am pleased with some of the recent work of Think New Mexico. Specifically, I urge readers to obtain a copy of the organization’s new report on New Mexico’s jobs crisis. The entire report is not available online at this time. We have certainly disagreed with Think New Mexico in the past, including their passionate calls for elimination of taxes on groceries which was enacted during the Richardson Administration in exchange for a higher gross receipts tax rate).

I have previously analyzed the report’s recommendations which were covered in the media (analysis here), but I didn’t get an actual copy of the report until recently. While the recommendations were okay, the research painted a clear picture of New Mexico’s failures to embrace free markets and limited government. Repeatedly, points explained in the report echo arguments and data brought to bear by the Rio Grande Foundation:

1) New Mexico is too reliant on an increasingly unreliable government in Washington (this is kind of a no-brainer, but good luck convincing our Senators that it is time to dial things back);

2) To thrive, New Mexico needs to embrace entrepreneurial mindset and policies that will generate private sector jobs;

3) Our higher education system must be more efficient and competitive (although Think NM recommends providing scholarships for foreign students, their research clearly illustrates that New Mexico’s higher education system is heavily-subsidized for in-state students and costly for out-of-state students to the point that our schools are not attractive for those students).

4) Industry-specific subsidies and corporate welfare are ineffective. They cite several examples that we have discussed including Schott Solar and Santa Fe Studios.

In other words, Think New Mexico, at least in terms of its critiques of the status quo, is echoing stuff we’ve said for years. The major difference is that our recommendations, Right to Work, tax reform, regulatory reductions/reform, and a less-subsidized, more competitive higher education system, are even more politically-challenging than their proposals (which face their own political challenges with the current Legislature). Of course, our recommendations also attack the problems more directly.

In conclusion, we may disagree on policy prescriptions and tactics, but we welcome the organization’s free market critique of New Mexico’s policies.

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