Five reasons why Denver is eating Albuquerque’s lunch (economically)

The Albuquerque Journal seems to have finally figured out that Albuquerque’s economy is not performing well and that Denver’s economy is booming. They provide some good data illustrating that point in today’s paper. Unfortunately, while we’ve been talking about Denver’s economy and how it is out-performing Albuquerque’s for no less than four years.

With Colorado as a whole at 2.3% unemployment and sporting a 66% workforce participation rate and New Mexico as a whole at 6.4% unemployment and 54.2% workforce participation, it could not be clearer that Denver/Colorado are doing a lot right and that Albuquerque/New Mexico are doing a lot wrong. Here are a few specifics:

  1. Colorado’s government consumes a far smaller portion of the economy (Colorado’s tax burden is 8th-lowest as a percentage of private sector income while New Mexico’s is 5th-highest):

    Chart 1 Colorado State and Local Tax Burden FY 2015.jpg2) THE major reason for Colorado’s relatively low burden of government is that voters placed strict limits on government spending and taxation in its Constitution thanks to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.  This comprehensive provision forces Colorado government bodies to be smaller and more efficient. New Mexico has few real limits on government taxing or spending growth.

    3) Colorado pays market wages for public works projects like roads and schools, not artificially-inflated rates.

    4) In 2011 Denver voters rejected a hare-brained sick leave scheme by an overwhelming 64-36%. City and state elected officials led the charge AGAINST mandatory paid sick leave. Albuquerque voters face a similar ballot measure this fall.

    5) Colorado has legalized marijuana generating hundreds of millions in revenue while New Mexico/Albuquerque has let crime grow unchecked.


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3 Replies to “Five reasons why Denver is eating Albuquerque’s lunch (economically)”

  1. When our lovely governor is gone. Then we can get a real governor and follow the lead Colorado has set. Great job Colorado. Your kids are getting the education they deserve.!!!!

    1. While the RGF supports marijuana legalization, it is not enough by itself to turn New Mexico’s economy around. We need more market-based reforms many of which have been pushed by the Gov.

    2. How do you explain the last 50 years when we’ve had different governors , and for the most part a Democrat controlled government?

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