Has New Mexico’s economic death spiral begun?

There is no clear definition of what causes an economy to go into a “death spiral,” but declining revenues leading to tax hikes which lead to businesses and productive citizens leaving which in turn leads to declining revenues is the one I would put forth. To be sure, Forbes named New Mexico the #1 “death spiral” state in the nation (by a long-shot).

We’ve known about the declining revenues and young people leaving for a few years now, but it looks like the tax hike phase of New Mexico’s death spiral may be here. Democrats in the Legislature just passed a budget that includes tax hikes (although they will likely be vetoed by the Gov.) Even more troubling is that the largest County (by population) in our State is looking to pass major tax hikes.

As the Foundation has pointed out in the past, the GRT in Albuquerque has risen more than 20% since 2000 and Bernalillo County just increased the tax in 2015. Adding another tax hike (or hikes) on top of those already-rising rates may not seem like a big deal, but it may also be the thing that pushes more businesses and people out.

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91 Replies to “Has New Mexico’s economic death spiral begun?”

  1. N.M. already has the 15th highest combined sales tax in the country:http://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/02/22/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-sales-tax/9/

    Note that most of the main street media in N.M. never talk about reducing spending through such common sense methods as reducing the number of public sector employees; changing public sector employee retirement plans to profit sharing from the exhorbitant defined benefit plans; and farming out more work to the private sector (as VP Pence did in a big way when he was IN governor). Are the main stream media in cahoots with the Dems on this subject?

    1. My best friend is from Indiana. Did you know some teachers have lost pensions there due to his mismanagement? The schools are bankrupt due to his mishandling of funds. Yes, we want a guy like Pence to handle education and our state here. They’re so deep in debt the current administration doesn’t know where to start.

      1. I don’t know anything about the situation in Indiana, but how about just getting rid of government pensions? Instead we could allow individual workers (teachers in this case) to manage their pensions like in a 401K system or something similar? Why should we depend on government to “invest” our money? Issues like what you say happened in Indiana happen all the time and are happening right now as these plans are underfunded deliberately.

        1. I agree that allowing governments to fund pensions is not the best idea, especially here in NM where the idea of personal responsibility has been long gone from deep state government leadership (if it ever existed). However, many of us have tried to give back to the community by working for government here and did that with a part of the compensation package being pensions. I hope you are saying to give people the option of handling their own retirement and you are not saying to rip off those who worked to better e.g. the state by taking a low paying job here with the idea of a PERA retirement. Is that correct?

          1. I don’t think you could legally take those pensions from people if you wanted to due to property rights. Yes, reform for new participants is the way to go. Of course if government simply doesn’t have the money, that could result in workers losing their pensions.

        2. Because it’s already been proven in CA that is doesn’t work. The good thing about defined benefit government pension plans is that there is A LOT of money invested (into whatever), so that the return is A LOT. I don’t know how much money I contributed to my pension plan over the 30 years I worked for CA government, BUT I know that my contributions were eaten up my first five years of retirement. The reason I am still getting my pension is because my pension plan invested my money and now (6 years later — I’ve been retired 11 years) my monthly pension is coming out of the investment returns. An individual teacher cannot begin to have that kind of retirement income from the relatively — RELATIVELY — small amount they pay each money into their retirement fund.

          1. You apparently weren’t a math teach. Investing “a lot” happens only if you have “a lot” of people, meaning you also have “a lot” of pension obligation. There is no money magic. Your monthly pension is NOT “coming out of the investment returns.” If only that were true. Large pension funds can (usually) do better than an individual at garnering a return, but only slightly better. For decades, CALPERS (the state fund for public employees) has been way overestimating the long-term return on its investments. Only now have they begun to lower the projected returns to match reality. As a result, the municipalities that pay into the fund (using their money plus in some cases that of employees) are billions of dollars in the hole on their long-term retirement obligations. You are living off of not the investment return, but the money being paid in NOW by employees and municipalities-money that will have to be paid out later as pensions to THOSE people.

    2. You can’t put it all on the Dems. Republicans have been taking from the middle class and weakening education which also plays a significant role.

      1. I am not familiar with the original post. Are you referring to NM specifically? If you are, I think it is hard to blame Republicans in NM as they have so little power. Martinez really achieved very few policy victories in her time in office. And I’m not sure how she has “weakened” education. We spend more than our neighbors for much worse results.

    3. I moved to New Mexico 11 months ago. Here are my observations-
      1-This is the most tranquil and gorgeous place I have lived. The natural wonders are simply unbelievable and the tourist attractions are untapped. The spiritual vibe is like none other with clear blue skies, sun rises, and sunsets that produce a magnificent in grandeur. There is no picture worthy what you will see in person.
      2-Ironically, the majority of the people who live here appear unhappy, nearly rude, and don’t want any form of change to occur unless, a food franchise is coming to town. You can see the hurt in their eyes as they walk about in stores and at restaurants.
      3-Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle here; you risk your life due to the percentage of drunks, texting drivers, those that refuse to use turn signals, or pull onto road ways without ever looking for cars.
      4-There appears there is a sense of enjoyment gained from playing the blame game or choosing to be a victim, instead of an over comer. Where is the sense of personal accomplishment or goal setting for improvement? Is there really no desire to improve the quality of life in one of the natural wonders of the world? Where is the honor of living in such a place of beauty? Last I checked this is America and you can make a difference, own your own business, and improve your home town.
      5-Since moving here I have made every possible effort to buy local. However, the establishments are rarely open or have odd hours of business. Few are open the average 9 am-5 pm Mon-Fri with different weekend hours. Rarely, is there a way to navigate these businesses online.
      6-As stated in multiple replies below, government does affect all of us, it should not limit us and our goals to make a better place to live for ourselves or future generations.
      7-The average person seems to have a low education (average of 8th grade); yet there seems to be many opportunities with scholarships and nice colleges here.
      8-Racism is insane between the Navajo’s and ‘white man’ it is as if you stepped into an old western movie. I am embarrassed and appalled by such behavior.
      9- They have yet to tap into solar and wind power which would generate income as well as save the state millions of dollars.
      In summary, I will stay here even though it often feels no one wants me here. I will continue to breath the fresh air, enjoy the natural wonders as I explore, donate, and pay taxes. I will make a difference here in this hurting place called, New Mexico. I will continue to live a life of that is thankful for liquid in my glass rather than a half empty, half full world.
      The downward spiral in New mexico will change when everyone chooses to take a risk to improve themselves rather than wait for another to ‘fix it.’

      1. Amen L.K. My husband and I have been visiting the Santa Fe area for a few years with hopes of buying. I agree with you that there is opportunity everywhere, but this state does have a dependence on Big Government over making their own opportunity and a weird kind of racism. We find the people of NM very friendly or at least in northern NM. When states rely on government, people get lazy and entitled and small business can no longer thrive due to over taxing the wrong people. New Mexico only has just over 2 million people in the entire state, which means there is a lot of opportunities available. It does need to start with education and maybe not just the lousy school curriculum, but real life curriculum. It seems there is either poor or a small percentage of rich who live there. I love this state, but we do worry about the economy. Thank you Paul Gessing for writing this article and bringing attention to this problem.

      2. You missed a few points
        1- The Hispanics hate the whites also
        2- the illegals make up over 30 % of the work force
        3- the state gives the illegals the same benefits as citizens

        I’ve been here 5 years and am still having a hard time establishing my company because I am white, luckily my partner has been here long enough to be known and speaks Spanish and that is another topic for discussion!

      3. I agree with several points BUT I disagree on the Solar power. The state has been working hard and several solar companies have opened here. I’ve seen solar fields many places throughout the area, including our local high school and the Costco down the hill. We definitely need more, as well as wind power but we are on the right track.

      4. I disagree with the comment that wind power would be good for this state. Wind power is vastly over-rated and wrecks havoc on power grids due to fluctuation in energy availability. Average production is a mere 10% of its rated power, but increases to 30% randomly and up to 100% on occasion. This variability is disastrous when attempting to limit costs to consumers. New Mexico, the most fragile economy in the country, can little afford such stupidity.

      5. To LK
        You are in the wrong part of New Mexico.
        There was a time when New Mexico was a Grand State
        hard working people. Some parts of the State is
        hard working.

      6. Amen. I came to teach at one the premier colleges 34 years ago, fell in love with NM and married a former legislator with over 16 years’ experience in politics. We both lament over what life has become in the state since the early 1980’s. Sad that there is little pride in tradition, focus on early education, and self-motivation to make this state a gracious and welcoming place it used to be.

      7. sleeper1@yahoo.com Congratulations newcomer, you nailed it L.K., and welcome to this beautiful enchanted state of New Mexico. I grew up in Albuquerque, and raised my family in Santa Fe. I agree with all that you said, especially referring to the crippling racism, poverty mentality, and choice to be and remain a ‘victim’. I have been a small business owner (while raising my children in Santa Fe) and found that most of my customers were transplants from other states and caucasian, with just a handful of Hispanic locals. I was also a Federal government employee, and a state government employee. I managed to complete 4 years of studies and obtained my B.A. from a New Mexico University along the way. While I enjoyed running my own small retail business, I found it necessary to leave Santa Fe when my youngest graduated from Santa Fe High School, and the business I was in was being squeezed out by bigger competitive companies moving into that territory. Of the government jobs I held, I found working for the Federal government the most pleasant job, with very little racism observed and/or experienced in the agency for which I worked. The NM State job however, was an experience in observing reverse discrimination, racism, laziness, and observing nepotism where ‘jobs’ were literally created in that agency for relatives of some state legislators, and those ’employees’ spent their days doing whatever they pleased, coming to the office whenever it suited them. It was also an uncomfortable place to work if you were not Hispanic, the reverse racism was strongly felt. At that time 95% of NM State employees were Hispanic, and it appears that it is still a high percentage. That racism included comfortable promotions for the ‘favored’ ones, and very little for the ‘unfavored’ ones, no matter how capable and hard working they were. Productive employees were few, and money was wasted paying the unproductive. It appears that things in NM State agencies has not changed much. It also appears that the frustrations and pressures pressed upon our teachers has created a shortage of teachers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. They either leave the state or abandon their profession for something better. They are burdened with nonsense demands, while their pay is so low it is difficult to provide for their families. Those award-winning, hardworking teachers are often unacknowledged, overlooked and overworked. Altogether, it is not a promising scenario.

      8. L.K. you are talking about the entire USA. I live in Florida, talk about rude and drunk drivers. People that seem unhappy. The traffic is awful. Everyone is in a hurry, on their phones and upset. The property taxes go up every single year of the 5 I have lived here. And now there is talk of another increase and a special “fire tax”. Talk about change, there is so much growth here and the infrastructure can’t handle the traffic. It’s stressful, homeless are everywhere, and i just saw an old man dump his ashtray of cigarette buts out of his window.

        And Florida is the prime spot for solar but almost no one has it because it is too expensive to install. Florida Power and Light and the other major electric suppliers have tried to block individual solar installations or community installations. The major companies want a minimum monthly charge even if you are totally self sufficient with solar and want to make it law that you have to be hooked to the grid.

      9. My husband and I seriously considering retiring in the Mimbres Valley. I agree, New Mexico is a special place and it’s sad to hear about the attitude there–with the uniqueness and beauty taken for granted. As a conservative possibly moving to a more liberal place (which I believe a lot of the state is more Libertarian), we’re trying to find a place to disappear. That’s not to say that we don’t care about our community, but I totally agree, your life and future depends on YOU, not others as you wait for someone or something to make it for you. It is sad to see a waste of talents and gifts due to upbringing or poor attitudes as the government continues to enable the people. I don’t know what we’ll do. We’re from Colorado looking for something different, and we love the difference of New Mexico. There is nothing more beautiful to me than see people achieving success. It breaks my heart that people live in a pit and feel there is no hope for them, when they and hard work is their answer. Where did you move from?

      10. Get out while you can – I lived in Albuquerque for 8 years. The place bankrupted me and sucked the life out of my career and my retirement fund because I struggled to find gainful employment as an architect. I had a job as an architect for less than 2 years. Face the facts, unless you work for Sandia Labs or some other “government subsidized” employer, you will be screwed. I had to work as a car salesman for 4 years to keep my head above water, barely. I moved back to El Paso, and it’s amazing what happens just crossing the state line! You have energy and growth with a tremendous amount happening here and I’m doing what I was meant to do again. I agree with all the things you said including what attracts you to New Mexico about the nature but it’s not for anyone that wants to work gainfully in any career. It’s a good place to retire, but that is changing if tax rates continue to rise. Probably still less than other states like New York and California, which is why you have people relocating from those places. If you truly want to work for a living, New Mexico is not the place to be, which is why they will never keep the smartest kids coming out of high school or college. My son at age 16 is getting a decent education there because he is making the most of it and he knows he won’t stay after he gets out, much like most of his friends. I fought it for 8 years and was open to the possibilities of almost anything and unfortunately the economic problems are insidious and have been systemic long before I came. Like the slogan implies, “New Mexico, The Land of Entrapment”.

      11. Very well said… I was born and raised in NM but moved away 30 years ago. I’m moving back to NM to take care of my aging parents and I am hoping for the best. This state is beautiful just like when I was a kid but I worry about the tax hikes and crime that seems to be out of control. I too will do my best to make this my home again and smile and wave to my neighbors…

        1. Good luck! On one hand the policy solutions are quite simple and easily achievable if we get the right people elected. The cultural challenges to actually “throwing the bums out” have been much greater than I could have imagined.

      1. Not sure what “under-regulated” means. What we do know is that the lighter touch of Texas is far more effective than is New Mexico’s approach. That said, in Colorado where the Constitution strictly limits taxes and spending growth, the economic situation is equally strong. There are different ways to enhance economic freedom, but New Mexico has chosen none of them.

  2. I would really like to sit down with the leaders (snicker) in the NM legislature and get a serious response to simple questions like; “are you satisfied with the state of the State’s economy and the fact that it keeps large portion of New Mexican’s in poverty?” Slightly over 20% of New Mexico (ranked 50th) lives below the poverty level (www.talkpoverty.org) and the NM legislature is failing to do anything to reverse that course . It only leads me to believe it is due to one of three things; first, they don’t care. It’s about their power-base and they know if the population is independent, then they lose power. Second, they are maliciously taking advantage of the disadvantaged. The people’s loss is their gain and finally, they are profoundly incompetent and not serious about improving the State. Regardless of which you choose, it is a colossal fail. By the way, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt…I think they are just monumentally incompetent…

    1. I think you pretty much have the bases covered. The state that NM is in is a result of all of your points. I currently happily contribute my share in income taxes and previously in GRT. However, I am getting to retirement age and one thing that looms large is the lack of adequate medical care. I also work for an out of state company. Probably the only reason I still live here. If I have to change jobs I will likely have to relocate.

      My son will also graduate in couple of years and I will be seriously trying to convince him to go elsewhere to look for a job…even a high-tech one. In fact, I really don’t even want him to go to college here. Don’t get me wrong, I love NM and the people here but this place is becoming a blackhole for opportunity. 26% graduate with a college degree? This shows how much opportunity there isn’t. In fact once my son is off to college I may change residence and just keep my place here as a vacation home.

      We are missing a great opportunity by not taking advantage of the high tech industry and people who live in the State to create or own version of Silicon Valley. This one is handed to us on a silver platter but the folks in Santa Fe have no clue how to bring business and opportunity to the State.

    2. I don’t like how we have a national poverty level that is compared here. You can get by on $10 an hour here. I couldn’t do that in Chicago.

  3. They use the term “gross receipts” tax to confuse the consumer into thinking that businesses pay the tax. We all know who pays which re-enforces the downward spiral. What we really need are term limits or a 30 day session every other year. These clowns are truly incompetent

  4. You are leaving out the huge cost of public services for illegal aliens.
    I visited Albuquerque over 30 years ago and it was the nicest small city in America. Today it is crime ridden. A true shame.

      1. Of course the illegals use up resources, only a moron would think otherwise. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t or barely speak english, they use up school resources, they use up hospital resources. they use up police and law and order resources, they drive with no insurance and often no licence and can’t be sued because their money is sent back to Mexico or Central America, they work for peanuts because they pay no taxes and are illegal, they get, most get welfare , they get food stamps, they drink and are violent so crime runs rampant, they don’t care about the environment and will soil it without a thought. There intent is to recreate their backward world.
        Last but not least the white working class people are leaving the state and this will force the liberals to raise their own taxes so the illegals can increase their families further. LOL

        1. What kind of an idiot thinks undocumented workers don’t pay taxes? They do not get tax refunds, that is often true, but they pay more taxes than any of the white trash in rural “Trump” America who live off of the “coastal elite” states and won’t do the dirty work and won’t leave where they are to (God forbid) find work.

          1. Not if they are paid under the table.

            Although I am not against immigrant workers at all. We need them. But they should be documented and we should make it easy for them to get the papers to do it

          2. How do they pay taxes? Most work for cash “off the books” and do NOT pay anything. Know a family that are illegals and they get $850 in housing cost, $250 in utility subsidy, $650 in food stamps, pay zero for their boys medical care, free schooling for those boys, and the Mother gripes that she can’t get free health care…..pays a small portion when she goes to the Dr. Gripes, Gripes, Gripes that they
            don’t get enough. When her husband does occasionally work on the books he claims 15 dependents so he has a tiny portion taken in taxes. So tell me how they pay!!! They both use social security numbers stolen form someone…….

          3. What kind of idiot never spoke to an illegal before? One illegal who has lived in the Los Angeles area since the 1990s clearly stated to me in 2010 that he would never, ever declare citizenship. The monetary benefits of not paying taxes are wonderful for him.

        2. Well, that’s an erroneous generalization if I ever read one. I know illegals and none of them are like that at all. Some of them even pay taxes (there is a way to do that without having a SS#). So don’t just lump everybody all together. Besides, I know plenty of legal whites and Hispanics who are doing exactly what you delineated, plus they are not paying any state and federal income taxes.

          1. Are those legal whites and Hispanics who are doing exactly . . . as delineated by chance – drug dealers?

        3. Stephen, it is a fact that illegals affect our economy.
          But when it comes down to crime you are “dead wrong”. I have been living in this beautiful state for the past 25 years. The truth of things is that our problems began after “Katrina” hit Louisiana. Without hesitation we opened our arms to thousands of refugees from that state. Is no secret that the overall crime rate in Albuquerque became in the next few years 146% higher than the national average. It is openly documented by the local police that 7 out of 10 violent crimes committed in the Albuquerque area are perpetrated by African Americans.
          The same thing happened in Houston and the Washington Post wrote about it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/02/05/AR2006020500884.html
          So, yes, the illegals are using up our resources.
          Yes, they don’t pay taxes.
          But “NO”, they have little to do with the crime rising in the state of New Mexico. Most of those illegals are the hardest working people that I have ever known.
          By the way, when was the last time that you saw an “Illegal” with a piece of paper on his hand asking for money on the streets?

          1. I call your claim BS ! You claim the cause for high crime in NM is “African Americans” ? Where is your head shoved ? Yeah if you live in Chicago,Saint Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans , etc you can make that claim Bud. Is the white man causing all the crime ? No ! So who does that leave ? Why is it people like you can’t see the truth when it’s right in their face ? I’m sick of MY country being dismantled by SCUM BAG politicians with democrats at top of the list and republicans not far behind ! And meanwhile sheep like you don’t have a f##### clue or are too scared to tell it like it is or make claims based on feely touchy,Oh that’s not true ! I know a wonderful blah, blah family, blah, blah…..

          2. Occasionally (that is occasionally compared to the black or white homeless populations) a Hispanic or even an Asian can be seen on the streets of Los Angeles with a piece of paper on his hand asking for money on the streets.

      2. I’m a NM CITIZEN and damned straight I’ll blame illegals for a huge chunk of our economic death spiral. I voluntarily serve on a NM school Board and feel like Sisyphus rolling the boulder uphill every time a funding issue is set on our monthly agenda. We spend just shy of 23K per student annually with nearly 10% going to the feeding of more than 3/4 of our students two meals per day, and now a requisite snack. We are so overburdened by children with language issues and a complete lack of early, at-home, learning skills — as are typically taught by parents & other family members. Those early skills are not being taught to children by their parents because their parents are often times illiterate or functionally illiterate themselves. The anser IS NOT to scoop those kids up and get them in to gov’t funded pre-K. The answer is to refuse to allow those families to disproportionately drain our resources and force the other children to suffer the calamity of a piss-poor education and the resulting social promotion which has yielded a 74% requirement for remedial 1st year college study. The drop out rate at our Community Colleges and universities is staggering because of the substandard education provided in public schools, and the lack of will for college students to pay good money out of their pockets (via future loans) to pay for the basic education that they should have received in taxpayer funded K-12. This of course dramatically and quite negatively affects the job market here because businesses DO NOT relocate to State’s with un or under educated work forces.

        Do the math… yes illegals absolutely do play a catastrophic role in our economic death spiral.

        1. Lin:

          Interesting that you are on a school board. Schooling impact (or lack thereof) is illustrated by my moving to Wyoming after ten years and a son being born in Albuquerque. Wyoming schools wanted to make him repeat his last grade level completed in NM. We saved his repeat only by enrolling him in a remedial program at the University of Wyoming College of Education.

          Thanks for taking your job as board member seriously.

        2. Lin, I hope that things will change for the best for you teachers.
          I also want to state something a little off of the subject. The consensus in education has been to set the blanket goal for every child going through the education system to go to college. This is unrealistic. You probably already know that. But it is a significant reason why the teaching of early skills; that is, early at middle school and high school levels; are passed over.
          Its like any kid who cannot do calculus or is not interested in research becomes forgotten. So to get to the point, no child should be allowed to leave high school until they can write a coherent 2-page essay (because this is preparatory to writing a job résumé); and no child should leave high school without understanding math using decimals because our economic system is built on this math. Also, this level of math is needed in many jobs – as is also the use of fractions; and basic geometry. At least make sure the students get this much. Then you will know that they are all headed to a good place and you can de-stress about the college requirements that you must be concerned about as a teacher. One thing too about the kids who are college-bound. In most of those cases the parents and family members are solidly supporting the college bound. (Just remember – once in a while though one of the kids from the group of children with language issues and a complete lack of early, at-home, learning skills — as are typically taught by parents & other family members do get into University. I was one -always a C average, but I loved learning. So many factors are working in people’s life.)

    1. It’s not crime ridden because of illegals, it’s crime ridden because people are poor and have no opportunity. Brought to you by the State government.

      1. Paul, you are wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Open your eyes …

        NM is riddled with drug related violent crime. And yes, the cartels and their gang related ilk freely conduct business up our central NM corridoor thanks in large part to sanctuary cities and a Democrat (Dem ruled for the overwhelming majority of the past 80 years) legislature without the political will make the tough decisions that would otherwise allow us to buoy on economic par with our neighboring states.

        Oh, and you’re right about one thing … NM’s are poor. Though not for lack of resources or the potential for opportunity. No, NM’s are poor because of ignorant, and self-serving political polices that serve to bolster the legacy ‘patron’ families, on the backs of everyone else who lives here. If you doubt me, ask yourself to honestly answer the question: Why isn’t Bill Richardson, who incidentally is half Mexican, behind bars after the criminal cronyism that dominated his eight years at the gubernatorial helm?

        1. Bill Richardson is half Hispanic or Latino not half Mexican. A Mexican is a citizen of Mexico. It would be a bit difficult to be a half citizen of Mexico. (You must understand, a Mexican may be Oriental, Negro, Latino Native American or a blue-eyed blond Caucasian – or any combination thereof.)


        1. You’re right. It’s the current excuse and is accepted. Immigrants used to come to become Americans for a better life knowing either they made it, returned or died trying. No help, no benefits, just hard, hard sacrifice and work. That’s the difference than today where you come and sign up for bennies. America is broke people and in jeopardy of bankruptcy. Got to understand that all will cave not just a few programs. We can’t continue to support people who are able to work and support themselves. It’s the Dems insurance to stay in power on the backs of hard-working people.

    2. You are right, I grew up in NM and it was a beautiful and affordable place to live. Albuquerque was fun and clean and now it is just a dusty dirty crime ridden rest stop in the way to Arizona. Shame.

    3. Illegal aliens is redundant. With that said — it’s not the illegals that are the cause of everything bad. Not by a long shot. Not to mention that when a nicest small city becomes a relatively large city (it’s grown a lot in the past 30 years), crime usually grows too.

  5. Regarding the City Council Meeting, Monday March 20th. It became clear to me that we no longer have government by the people and for the people, from the city council all the way to the white house! Many citizens spoke not against the Comprehensive Plan Update, but for deferring it, slowing down the process so that more of the public can be informed and give their input. The public comments were referred to, and completely disregarded in the decision, instead deferring to the process taking too long already and a need to make it happen now. Why the rush? Who’s in a hurry to make decisions and changes with such long lived effects? I’ll tell you who, THE DEVELOPERS! So I laughed out loud when he stated that there was no attempt to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and that the developers were not influencing the voting choices of the council. I wasn’t alone, there were many other out of order voices at those comments. He became angry, suddenly you could see on his face the effects of the alcohol he’d been drinking. Well, the truth is when the public is informed of the truth, we will choose to speak, and when we speak, those on the council who do not listen and choose instead to defer to the will of the money grubbing developers, the six of you know who you are, will loose their positions of power. How did we get here? Because the developers and other moneyed business leaders got smart and took over our legislative and elective processes, while the rest of us simply went on living our fear based lives… oblivious. Information is the key! An informed public is a politically engaged and active public. So that is now my mission, to investigate and inform, share the truth, the truths of the past, the present, and the future.
    The council has been convinced, by the corporate community, that the only way to solve NM’s economic woes is to attract 2 Billion dollars of development from outside NM, as well some huge number of New Residents. In other words, current New Mexicans do not have the creativity, stamina, or ingenuity to create growth ourselves. Yet the brain drain has been identified as caused by a lack of local opportunities. There are currently so many local initiatives struggling to exist that would grow and create wealth if they could get a store front along the ART corridor. But instead, the corridor will be filled with high priced national chain outlets and condominiums too expensive for most local residents, displacing them for already rich residents from outside the state. When that happens, and it is already happening, we loose our cultural and social quirkiness, Albuquerque becomes just another Chicago, Dallas, and New York. And THAT’s when I move to New Orleans!

    1. People are not going to invest significantly in NM if we can’t show them we have something to offer like, a nice life style, an infrastructure, housing, OPPORTUNITY. We will have to give up some of our individualistic style to get there. The State government is loaded with New Mexicans and they so far haven’t figured out how to put us on the opportunity map. Sticking with the same people and the same plan ain’t gonna get you nothin’ as we have seen. Maybe some outside investment is what we need?

      1. Paul,

        I can see no reason why outside investors would dump a dime into this State. Poor work ethic, high illiteracy, high substance abuse rates, Democrat bolstered sense of entitlement, cascading land-locks through either tribal commitments or Federal land grabs. Crazed, insane leftists from Chicago and the Left-Coast at the helm of local city and county commissions from one corner of the State to another imposing skyrocketing taxes on anyone with a business license. Etc…

        As I see it, the only way to reclaim this State is to expel all illegals and incentivize their anchor families to return to their homelands with them. Then, and only then, can the State focus on adopting polices and statutes that more align with the rest of the USA rather than Spanish Colonial rule — which incidentally is what our State laws are based upon rather that the adapted British Contract Legal system that the rest of the nation operates under.

  6. Dear Sylvia,
    Teachers and all public sector employees are going to find out that there pensions have not been funded properly by politicians for decades. The total of those unfunded liabilities is about $200 Trillion. Yes that’s with a “T”. Local administrations have already had to stop runs on pension funds by employee’s that have discovered this fact. The refusal of politicians and administrations to make deep cuts in their budgets is for obvious reasons. The truth is that the cuts that are actually necessary, at this point in time, are monumental. If a truthful accounting of Social Security and Medicare were done they would have to admit that these programs are being paid for by our grandchildren. The kindest thing that we can do for them, is to cut at least the federal budget by half NOW to give our grandchildren a chance to have HALF the quality of life that we have enjoyed. As long as we continue to chastise the politicians that are at least trying to do what is necessary and we refuse to accept our responsibility and hardship to correct the current situation, we didn’t do it “FOR the children”, we did it “TO the children”. There is nothing compassionate in that!

    1. When I was in college in the early 70’s thee biggie they talked about was the unfunded liability of entitlement programs which Social Security is not because you pay into it but not enough to pay for it. Too many think they have a trust fund in their name. False. All current beneficiaries are paid by those currently paying into the system and has always been that way since 1937 when it was intended to be only a temporary program and known as the Widow’s Pension. I knew a Galveston Texas retired police officer when the city went broke. His pension was slashed over 90% and his paid for medical went away. He had to start mowing yards to make it. Our politicians especially the Democrats buy votes by giving away and promising money. Soon, the cows will come home and it won’t be pretty. I’m in Texas now where it has always been required to have a balanced budget and Texas has almost 20 billion in the Rainy Day Fund only to be used in an emergency.

      1. If Texas has always required a balanced budget and has about 20 million for a ‘rainy day’ why was the pension of the retired Galveston, TX policeman slashed 90%?

    2. How are Social Security & Medicare payments paid for by grand children? The legally employed had those deducted from their pay checks for decades. Remember that?

    3. One exception should be stated about the public sector employee group. That is the pensions of the politicians will always be funded.

  7. Retired. Moved to Grants in a motorhome to beat the snow and cold Colorado winter. This is a retirees paradise as you can live for as little as $250 including utilities for a month. But one can understand why. Driving down old route 66 is like driving through a scrap yard. Businesses are closed and continuing to due so. There are no job opportunities and future for young workers. Crime and drug use is high and the infrastructure if falling apart. Only those that receive a retirement check can afford to live here. Over the last several years, I have lived in Raton, Espanola, Gallup, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Truth or Consequences. It is the same no matter where you live in this state.

    1. Thank you for your comments. I have often said that the best hope to change New Mexico in the absence of policy reform is for retirees to move here and vote differently than the people who have lived here in the past. Alas, the features you mention (along with serious crime issues) are likely too much for less hearty retirees.

  8. I am 63. I woke up to being over taxed just a few years ago. I am part of the problem because i do not often enough talk up the problem of being over taxed…and therefore the younger folk who are struggling to keep up w the rat race all the while not even realizing their addiction to cell phones and electronics (see 60minutes last sunday eve) just keep voting for more stuff regardless of the high taxes. Hopefully we will recuperate this bottom mess. TR louisville colorado

  9. So, I’ve been thinking about moving to Ruidoso but it sounds now like that’s a bad idea now.

    1. We don’t give advice on where people should move, but I will say that New Mexico’s economy faces long-term systemic challenges that have really been exposed in the wake of the 2008 recession. Neither the population, not policymakers have shown any inclination to change direction although a few things have happened over the last week or two that give us hope.

        1. Santa Fe voters overwhelmingly rejected a new tax on soda and sugary beverages and Gov. Martinez stood up to APS, the largest school district in the State, educated voters about their over-spending and bureaucracy, and won.

          1. Hi Paul,

            I’m screaming from the highest mountain tops that the SF Soda tax was just a scam all along — one that cost the SF county tax payers a bundle by way of funding a scam election. I am 100% convinced that the mayor and SF city council had no expectation that the insane tax would pass. Rather, I am convinced that the whole effort was designed to desensitize the public to the proposal (proposed the day after the soda tax failed) to raise the GRT by another 1/8 after the 2015 1/8% increase. Or, perhaps they’ll go for the full 2/8% (allowable per the NM Legis) after the HUGE soda tax failed. Hey, what’s 2/8 of a percentage compared to the radical 100(+)% soda tax.

            If I still lived in SF I would look into filing suit against the mayor and council seeking to force them to pay for the scam election out of their own pockets. Last Nov was a general election, and February of this year (just a few months ago) was a School Board/Bond election. Why didn’t they piggyback their insane ‘sin’ tax onto either of those ballots? Because they wanted as small a voter turn out as possible, and they got it — only 16k+ voters decided an issue as pervasive as this insane soda tax.

            The emboldened Left is becoming more and more frightening, and if we don’t want to end up living in a cronyist-fascist State then we had better figure out how to get these dangerous hacks out of power.

  10. Hi,

    I’m so sorry to learn about the financial woes of New Mexico.

    I’m in Los Angeles, planning with happy anticipation to spend 10 July days in Santa Fe. The Jung Institute is holding a conference which includes not only presentations but field trips to Bandelier.

    In searching for other ways to tour New Mexico I’m coming up short. Couldn’t New Mexico bring more money in by establishing more ways to bring visitors who want to explore and learn about your great state? Especially it’s history?

    Tony Hillerman paved the way. His readers (I’m one of them) would love to see for themselves the land of the 4 Corners, learn more about Native American culture – of the past – and how it lives on today.

    Invite us. We’ll come!


    1. Hello Joanna,

      Tourism is absolutely a huge priority here in NM. Significant resources are already dedicated to the marketing and promotion of NM events, like the Gathering of Nations, Balloon Fiesta, Indian & Hispanic Market in SF, as well as numerous County and local promotional campaigns designed to invite you and others to this beautiful State. And, it’s not that we don’t welcome millions of visitors here each year. Rather, the problem is that all those tourist dollars that bolster our general fund are used in ignorant, and sometimes scandalous ways that don’t contribute to our State’s improvement. Lots of ‘band-aid’ fixes rather than comprehensive planning that targets our many multi-generational problems that ultimatley keep us at the bottom of all the good lists and at the top of all the bad lists.

      Though, please don’t let this discussion keep you from coming to visit. I’ve lived from coast to coast and still there is no more beautiful place in my eyes than New Mexico. Hence the reason why I’m still here, fighting to help enact real, long-lasting positive change that will make it an even better place for you to visit.

    2. Hello Joanna,

      If you fly in to Albuquerque Airport and drive to Santa Fe on to Bandelier, stop at the Tourist office on I 25, miles before arriving to Santa Fe. You will find tons of information regarding New Mexico. New Mexico is a fascinating state–the landscape is raw and some say, barren in some area–but it is not. Look at the light, feel the heat of the sun and listen to what the wind has to say. Rub your hands on the stones and look at the small flowers growing between the cracks of the ancient stones–they are very delicate looking but in reality very tough and strong and full of wisdom.

      Visit the pueblos. The name pueblo is Spanish–it means village. The indigenous people who lived along the river called now the Rio Grande ( the original name was Rio Bravo, meaning brave, courageous and wild) asked the Spanish for protection against the marauding tribes who stole their livestock, children, women, etc–the Navajos, Apaches, Comanche etc.. fear not, it does not happen now.

      The fact is, for better or worse, if it had not been for the Spaniard, there would not be pueblos for tourist to visit–New Mexico would be like back east, not Native American culture to speak of.

      For the Navajo Nation, as it is a Nation of sort within a nation, it was another story–the Anglos came in and put them in a reservation, an imposed welfare state govern by the federal government. Visit and buy the beautiful Navajo rugs.

      you will find people who speak Spanish, English and some, their native indigenous language. Some Spanish speakers are legal U.S. resident and others are not. And some native New Mexican like to vomit their hate for illegal immigrants and probably anyone else. It is the way it is in a free society.

      New Mexico, legally ,is a bi lingual state.

      Visit the New Mexico History Museum and Museum Hill–the museum of Native American History, the Museum of International Folk Art and the Anthropology museum–all close to each other and try to down load a museum pass. You also may want to visit the School of American Research–it is mostly for scholar of South west history but they give a tour every other Friday. Some of the ancient pueblo pottery, Apache basket and Navaho ( Dine, accent on the e )as they prefer to be called) rugs will knock your socks off.
      Bienvenido. Mi casa es su casa.

      PS: and one more thing, have lunch at the Museum Hill Cafe

  11. My first visit to NM brought me to Taos…back in 1997. I was with friends, and they ran out of money…so the left me there, in Taos. No money. No food. no car. I didn’t eat for nearly 3 days, until I landed a job at Wendy’s at 420 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur…the boss was kind enough to let me eat for free until I got my first check, otherwise I would have starved to death on the street. I’m from Minnesota. I go to Taos NM every year…anyways, NM is tough to live…Taos is a fine example of everything I’ve read on this comment thread. As much as I love New Mexico, I’m afraid to move here with my family. For one guy it is adaptable, being homeless can be done right, you can still eat and enjoy life….watching my Daughter starve and wife suffer…that alone would kill me. But I come back to Taos because I love the people…I love the land, I respect the mercy that was shown to me by Latinos, and I am forever in their debt for helping me get the F*^K out of there in one piece!! none the less…I still dream, one day I will live in Taos NM…or Elprado…as soon as my Kid is grown!! I’ll see you at the plaza. and if I don’t see you in the future, I’ll see you in the pasture.
    Amichai J. Schneller

  12. I left NM last year for a variety of reasons in the Silver City area after owning a paid for home 14 years and having to take a loss to escape. The Income Support Division which administered welfare, food stamps and Medicaid told me that 3 out of 4 people in the state rely on some form of govt assistance. They literally give Medicaid away compared to other states nearby. Workers are careful not to make to much so as not to endanger the free medical without any deductibles. Free medicine too. The work ethic has always been bad there and the govt freebies made it worse. My wife worked in high paying healthcare care jobs after leaving there and when we returned there was no work. So we sold out and moved to Texas. It’s a whole different deal.

  13. It TRULY IS a welfare state. Taxes and work ethic and very liberal Democratic party policies have guaranteed it.

  14. When we sold our home the person who owned the title company commented that between Obamacare and New Mexico liberal Democrats that we would ALL soon be working for free.

  15. As some one who has lived my entire life (75 years) in New Mexico, let me make a few observations.

    1. While continuing to brag about not raising taxes, in reality the governor has done exactly that by pushing more and more state responsibilities off on the counties and cities, thus forcing them to be the “bad guys” and raise taxes.

    2. Although our state is heavily dependent on oil and gas, both the state legislature and our national leaders have continually gone out of their way to make life miserable for the oil and gas industry. A classic example is Udall and Heinrich leading the battle in Washington to defend the “flaring rule” put into effect in the closing days of the Obama administration. This executive action, if allowed to stand, will result in the closing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of oil and gas wells in New Mexico with the resultant loss in tax revenue and jobs.

    3. Counties and cities throughout Northern New Mexico continue to pass ordinances hampering, or outright banning, oil and gas exploration. Yet they are the first ones with their hands out, expecting the oil and gas revenue to keep their local governments and schools afloat.

    4. While the ship is sinking all around them, many state legislators and local governments spend their time passing laws dealing with minimum wages, gay rights, transgender rights, etc. All these things do is take up time and money that could be spent more productively dealing with the real problems of the state. They also make New Mexico less competitive and less appealing to any business that might be thinking of relocating to New Mexico.

  16. I just spent a few days visiting Ruidoso with my family from Texas. It was beautiful and we had a great time. We also noted that pretty much everyone we met was friendly. We liked it so much that upon arriving home, I spent some time looking at job listings and homes for sale in the area. I quickly realized that relocating there would not be an option. No job opportunities and housing is overpriced even though many homes have been on the market, unsold, for a long time. I noticed something else while driving across the vastness of west Texas and into the eastern plains of New Mexico. In Texas, the farmers and ranchers were hard at work extracting a living from the hot arid land. And the oil pumps were churning away. In New Mexico, not so much…


    1. That’s right bro vet I am a disabled vet it’s hard being a vet in nm we suffer we hardly get services and it takes a long time we need a change.

  18. I’ve been in New Mexico (Albuquerque) for a little over two years. Their problems are really easy to figure out.

    One; This is a Democratically run state with half the population on welfare.

    Two; This is a Democratically run state that refuses to put it’s career criminals in prison Because of the both statement above, tax paying business are leaving and new one do not want to relocate here.

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