Rent control legislation to be introduced in 2023 Legislature

In October the City of Albuquerque Council on a bipartisan 7-2 vote rejected an initiative that would have placed the City on record as supporting rent control. We applauded the move at the time.

But, in “progressive” and poorly governed New Mexico no bad idea is ever totally dead. So, pro-rent control activists seem to have convinced powerful Democrat State Senator Linda Lopez to introduce legislation that would eliminate the State’s ban on the practice.

Some supporters claim this is all about “local control,” but the reality is that the Legislature makes economic policies that cities must adhere to all the time, including 2019 legislation that was adopted to prevent local governments from adopting “Right to Work” laws.

The truth is rent control won’t solve the problem of rising rents. Only expanding the housing supply (with a side of reducing inflation) will bring housing/rent prices down. But, it’s easier for the economically-illiterate to simply demand a legislative “fix.”

RGF talks to KOAT Channel 7: City Taxpayers have spent $1 million on field transformations

The Rio Grande Foundation worked hard to make sure that City taxpayers didn’t have to foot the cost of a soccer-only stadium for the New Mexico United soccer team.

But, as KOAT Channel 7 notes in a recent story in which RGF’s president was interviewed, local taxpayers are STILL on the hook for expenses associated with the soccer team. In this case according to recent data requested by KOAT taxpayers have spent $960,000 since the United started playing games.

Is this better than building a brand new stadium? Yes. Has City Council ever voted on this? No. It would seem that at the very least our elected officials should be voting on this. Americans and New Mexicans are often asked to subsidize sports franchises, but that doesn’t make it right.

New Mexico remains among “Least Free” US states in latest Index of Economic Freedom

The 2022 edition of the Canada-based Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of North America 2022 is out and for yet another year New Mexico remains at the very bottom among US states in terms of economic freedom. Economic freedom is the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions
about what to buy, where to work and whether to start a business.

Unsurprisingly, New Mexico performed particularly poorly in:

  • Government spending as a percent of personal income (49th);
  • Sales tax revenue as a percent of personal income (48th); and
  • Government employees as a percent of overall employees (49th).

New Mexico DID get high marks for having relatively low property taxes (7th).

“When governments allow markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced and how much is produced, citizens enjoy greater levels of economic freedom,” said Fred McMahon, the Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and co-author of this year’s report, which measures government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions using data from 2020, the latest year of available comparable data. Florida was the top performing state in the index followed by New Hampshire. Rounding out the top five freest states are South Dakota (3rd), Texas and Tennessee (tied for 4th ).

The very worst performing states were New York at 50th followed by California.

Tipping Point NM episode 456: Fred Nathan, Think New Mexico – A Roadmap for Rethinking Public Education in New Mexico

On this week’s interview Paul talks to Fred Nathan the Founder and CEO of Think New Mexico which describes itself as a “results-oriented think tank whose mission is to serve all New Mexicans.” The organization recently published a detailed and ambitious plan to reform New Mexico schools. While Rio Grande Foundation and Think New Mexico don’t always agree on policy solutions for New Mexico, Paul and Fred both want very much to improve New Mexico’s dismal education system. This conversation really digs into the details of Think New Mexico’s education plan and its pluses and minuses from RGF’s perspective.

Parents Rights win at APS school board

The Rio Grande Foundation would like to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who called, wrote, emailed, and spoke in favor of parental rights in education alongside RGF at last night’s APS school board meeting.

We would also like to thank the five APS School Board members that voted to support parental involvement in the classroom.

In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of what happened:

KB1, also known as the Parent Rights and Responsibilities policy, passed the APS School Board in a 5-2 vote.  KB1 consolidates education rules into a clear and concise format, making it easier for parents to see exactly what’s going on inside the classroom.

Opposition from special interest groups showed up in force, including numerous paid activists.

Regardless of the heckling and boos from the special interest groups, several brave parents stood up for Parental Rights and bravely took their turn at the mic to show the real local parent support for KB1.

We could not be more proud!

You can read the Albuquerque Journal’s highly biased coverage of the meeting here.

Parental Rights were up for a vote in Albuquerque today, and the clear winners are families.

Tipping Point NM Episode 455: Election Analysis: Why did NM Republicans Stay Home and more

Like everyone else RGF is interested in what happened in the recent election. Paul has some analysis here.

Paul and Wally aren’t the only ones waiting for something to happen at Spaceport America. A Chicago man recently asked for and received a refund from Virgin Galactic. 

Think New Mexico proposes education reform, we analyze their plan. 

RGF will be in federal court on Wednesday against NM Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Environmental consults presented to the Legislature recently. They claim to have put a price of $5.3 billion on New Mexico environmental disasters due to climate change, but make no specific arguments that climate change caused the disasters.

RGF talks to KOAT 7 about $18 million being wasted on empty state office buildings

According to a new report from the Legislative Finance Committee the State of New Mexico is wasting $18 million a year on unused office space. The LFC report found telework and 21% of staff vacancies are accounting for unused offices.

Telework COULD be a cost-saving measure in some circumstances, but the State needs to produce coherent rules for government employees and whether those jobs are able to be done remotely or not. Sadly, the Lujan Grisham Administration has not managed to do this 2.5 years after COVID began and created the push for remote work. Watch the story here.

New Mexico’s Conservative Counties did not show up for election

The following is directly from the Secretary of State website. You can look for yourself at the Secretary of State website.

In the 2022 general election there was 52% voter turnout statewide

In Lea County (Hobbs) there was 38% turnout.

In Eddy County (Carlsbad and Artesia) there was 49% turnout.

In Chaves County (Roswell) there was 46% turnout

In San Juan (Farmington) there was 51% turnout

On the other hand the big liberal counties of Santa Fe saw 63% turnout and in Bernalillo County there was 54.6% turnout.

None of the biggest conservative counties in New Mexico turned out at the State average and Lea County lagged badly.

Why did this happen? That is a good question. Certainly election denial raised its ugly head in this election. Southeast New Mexico was also split in redistricting which may have impacted things.

Regardless of why it happened, we know that New Mexico’s Southeastern oil patch funds the rest of the State. They are arguably impacted by what happens with “green” policies in Washington and Santa Fe more than any other part of the state. It would seem that getting the conservative Southeast portion of New Mexico engaged would be a critical factor in winning future elections.


Man tires of waiting for Virgin Galactic, gets (partial) refund

In October of 2022, New Mexico’s Spaceport America hit its 11th anniversary of being open. Alas, it’s prime tenant Virgin Galactic has failed to launch a single paying customer during that time.

One customer finally said “enough.” He asked for and received a refund of his $175,000 back from the company. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a Mr. Shefket Chapadjiev paid Virgin $175,000 back in 2007 for a ticket to space. He’s now 84 years old and in poor health.

Echoing the comments of the Rio Grande Foundation, Chapadjiev, a native of Bulgaria, told the paper, “This has been for 15 years, and always we’re supposed to be flying next year, next year, people from Bulgaria keep asking me, ‘What happened?”

Chapadjiev says his refund from Virgin Galactic came minus 10% of the amount he paid.

Shefket Chapadjiev, 84, wearing a jacket he received from Virgin Galactic while waiting — in vain, as things turned out — more than a decade for a hoped-for trip to space on a commercial spaceflight.