Lab Cuts, Crisis or Opportunity?

Los Alamos and Sandia Labs are on the chopping block in Congress. That is a fact and it has many of the Labs’ employees and local economic officials in a panic. But is it such a bad thing for New Mexico’s long-term economic future? In a recent opinion piece in the Albuquerque Tribune, I argue that cuts at the Labs might be an opportunity to ween New Mexico’s economy from the federal teat and adjust our tax policies in ways that will generate long-term economic growth.
After all, New Mexico has long received more federal largesse relative to what its taxpayers pay than any other state, but it hasn’t done much to improve our economic picture or poverty levels. As the economic impact of these layoffs is felt, our political leaders would be wise to enact some pro-growth reforms (like cutting the income tax or reducing the regulatory burden) in an effort to bring businesses to the state.