Do We Need More Cabinet Level Departments in NM?

To say the state is going through tough economic times is a bit trite at this point, but as I’ve written recently, it seems like many of our leaders in Santa Fe just haven’t gotten the memo. Another example of this was brought to my attention by Santa Fe New Mexican reporter Kate Nash who has been looking at efforts moving forward in the current legislative session that would create two new cabinet-level agencies. One would take all vehicle-related functions from the Motor Transportation Division of the Department of Public Safety and the Motor Vehicle Division of the Taxation and Revenue Department and roll them into one agency called the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The other, which the Senate approved over the weekend, would create an Hispanic Affairs Department. As I discuss in Nash’s article, “This isn’t the time to create more layers of government. During tough economic times and with a massive $600 million deficit facing the state, the last thing we need is to hire more highly-paid cabinet-level state bureaucrats.”
Rather, the state should eliminate “race-specific departments, agencies, and programs, not creating more of them. Besides, we already have a Cultural Affairs secretary.”
Creating two new cabinet-level agencies may not immediately increase the size of the hole in New Mexico’s budget, but they will inevitably increase spending as bureaucrats inevitably receive raises as they move up the state salary pecking order. Hopefully, the sponsors of these efforts realize that their pet projects are simply not pressing matters in the best of economic times and should be pushed to the side without much need for debate in these difficult budgetary times.