Higher Taxes — Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

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Does Winthrop Quigley ever get tired of being wrong?

On Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal columnist explored the state’s worsening fiscal picture, and pondered if it was “time to ask if some tax increases are in order.

Quigley claims that the “Legislature hasn’t been exactly profligate,” citing the fact that it “appropriated only a half-percent more to run the state this fiscal year than it did last year, well under the rate of inflation.” Thus, the “problem is on the revenue side.”

Clever trick. But looking at a single year is inadequate, if not bizarre. A perspective far broader than Quigley’s facile comparison is needed. Fortunately, the Foundation has the data.

The state has spent the 21st century growing its expenditures as if the Great Recession — and the last few years of falling population in the Land of Enchantment — didn’t happen. Between 2002 and 2014, New Mexico’s spending, per capita and adjusted for inflation, rose by 17.1 percent, from $7,021 to $8,219:

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These are all-in figures, as disclosed by the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports — not the dishonest “general fund” sum reflexively referred to by clueless politicians and lazy reporters. The expenditures include prisons, roads, schools, debt service, “economic development,” and quasi-government entities.

Quigley couldn’t be bothered to the research, but it’s clear that state government is stubbornly resistant to spending restraint. Faddish (and failed) education expenditures, disastrous corporate-welfare schemes, a refusal to bring employee compensation in line with that of the private sector — again and again, governors and lawmakers have preferred fiscal irresponsibility to limited, affordable government. The bill for such recklessness is now coming due. So look for Quigley and his ideological allies to keep pushing for higher taxes in the Land of Enchantment. But hey, the state with arguably the worst economy in the nation can handle it, right?

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3 Replies to “Higher Taxes — Yeah, That’s the Ticket!”

  1. This Quigley misrepresentation of the truth is consistent with other sources of news the public depends on to get the facts. KOB Channel 4 News reporting that the reason college graduates are leaving NM is because we are not spending enough on education (raise taxes) is absurd when clearly, it is a lack of jobs (can be fixed without raising taxes). This kind of journalistic malpractice is widespread in NM and keeps the public misinformed. Maybe misinformation is their goal to advance their liberal agenda.

    Dowd, this is a great piece that exposes amateur, agenda driven reporting. I would like to see everyone who wants truth from the media to raise hell every time the media is caught in a deliberate lie! They must be called out.

  2. Okey Dokey: Spend our way out of difficulty, which we spent our way into.
    As they say, we can make up the losses with volume.

    This person and others are raising themselves from the irresponsible to the unconscionable.

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