New Mexico’s unemployment “insurance” program in dire need of reform

The debate over what to do about unemployment is (at least theoretically) on the agenda during the special session. Unfortunately, no matter what happens, there are major problems with the system in our state.

For starters, according to Capitol Report New Mexico (reporting on a report from the Department of Labor), the state overspent by $104.7 million, the third highest amount in the nation. In Oregon, a system called JOBS Plus provides incentives for work rather than continued unemployment. According to the Cascade Policy Institute, the sister think tank of the Rio Grande Foundation, this program “uses money that would otherwise pay a person not working to instead subsidize a new private sector job. The presence of these jobs eliminates the disincentive to job
search, because one has to accept such a job or lose benefits.”

Might New Mexico learn from this example to reform its own, failing unemployment system?