Analyzing proposals from other think tanks part 1: Voices for Children

The Rio Grande Foundation works with/against various other policy organizations around New Mexico. Voices for Children is one such organization that, while it is avowedly left-liberal and we are avowedly free market conservative, we occasionally work with but usually work against them. We have agreed with them in the past that eliminating New Mexico’s tax on groceries and raising the broader GRT was a bad idea. We’ve also noted their opposition to film subsidies.

Recently, Voices produced a very good report, Kids Count, which detailed some of the issues facing New Mexico’s children. While the report focused on problems facing our kids, it was somewhat light on recommendations for solving the problem. That is what we see in this new report, Kids are Counting on Us, from Voices.

I can’t call it a serious policy proposal. Rather it is a left-wing fantasy laundry list that would result in a dramatic increase in taxes and spending. I counted 51 separate policy proposals in the report, only one of which involves reducing harmful government regulations or eliminating a government program (treatment instead of incarceration for drug users).

As I wrote in an op-ed immediately after their “Kids Count” report was published, New Mexico’s problems are the direct result of poverty. Addressing them piecemeal with targeted government programs is not the solution. Rather, we need to bring economic growth to our state. Tax reform that emphasizes growth, education reform that creates choice (a glaring omission from the most recent Voices report), and regulatory reforms that increase individual freedom are all necessary components of reforms that would spur New Mexico’s economy. Getting some of our federal lands back from Washington would be great as well.

Clearly, when it comes to New Mexico public policies, Voices adheres to a far-left, government-driven agenda that has failed to bring New Mexicans economic prosperity.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at a new report from the more centrist Think New Mexico.

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