In case you missed it, New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell has joined the chorus of people and organizations calling for federally-managed lands within the State to be returned to New Mexico control. See his full proposal here.
Although some details of the Commissioner’s plan differ from what the Rio Grande Foundation would prefer, this is a huge, positive step in terms of building support for the concept and the possibility of legislative action to at least look at the issue in Santa Fe and the Governor’s office.
To be sure, we don’t believe that funding early childhood education is a wise use of the tax dollars generated by oil and gas (and other, multiple uses) on these lands. But, control over these lands would mean more jobs for New Mexicans, more money staying here in New Mexico (and not going to Washington), and better stewardship of those lands (fewer wildfires).
In other words, you could take all the new tax money intended for early childhood programs, take it out into the desert and burn it and you still have a winning concept here because of all the other positives associated with this plan. The leftists who have been pushing for early childhood don’t like alternative ideas like Powell’s, less costly, but more effective ideas like parent coaches, or anything else that diverts them from tapping the Permanent Fund pot and controlling your kids from an even earlier age, but average New Mexicans need to understand that if we’re serious about improving our economy and educational outcomes, Powell’s idea should be a starting point and taxpayer-funded pre-k is not the best path to improvement.