Glad to Have Big Bill Back?

I say that Richardson’s return to New Mexico is a blessing for fiscal conservatives….
While most conservatives and libertarians seem to have nothing but scorn for Governor Richardson and his failed bid for Commerce Secretary (and subsequent return to New Mexico), I am optimistic. Why is that? First and foremost, as discussed on the front page of today’s Albuquerque Journal, Governor Richardson says he’ll balance New Mexico’s budget (subscription required) without raising taxes. He’ll rely on reductions in funds allocated through the Capital Outlay process as the main source of cuts, but says he will also target education spending.
While the ultimate results of Richardson’s new-found fiscal restraint and where it is coming from are up for debate, I believe that Richardson has far greater incentives than Diane Denish would to rely on spending cuts rather than tax increases in order to close the budget deficit. After all, Richardson has fashioned himself as a tax-cutter and thus has the incentive to preserve those cuts rather than raising taxes. Is there any debate that Diane Denish, were she to take office while inheriting Richardson’s budget mess and in need of support from a variety of liberal constituencies, would have every incentive to raise taxes and blame it on Richardson?
Of course, no one knows how the legislative session will pan out, but I can say that Republicans should unify around efforts to close the budget gap by cutting spending and not raising taxes.

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