Libertarians and free market conservatives are often told that they are unduly skeptical about government. Come on, we’re told, “government is the cost we pay for civilized society.” Right.
The reality is that governments (including but by no means only New Mexico) tends to prioritize non-essential services while de-prioritizing the things we often think of as “core” functions of government (like public safety). Check out my recent post about APD and the reduction in the number of cops on the streets during the recent crime wave.
Unfortunately, the same is true about the State’s 911 fund. According to a report from the FCC, in 2016 New Mexico collected $10,919,490 to fund 911 services statewide. Due to the State’s budget situation $6 million of that was diverted to close the budget deficit. So, $50 million went out the door for film, the Rail Runner continued to operate, various subsidies for special interests were continued, but more than half of our 911 program’s funding was diverted…and, if the past is our guide, it isn’t coming back.
The relevant page from the FCC’s 9th annual report on 911 fees can be seen below and the full report is available here. When government diverts money from obvious necessities (cops and 911 services) and diverts those resources to boondoggles like the ART, RailRunner, or film subsidies, it vindicates the skepticism of government held by the Rio Grande Foundation and many others.