Apparently “Economic Development Week” is a thing and New Mexico’s Secretary of Economic Development Alicia Keyes celebrated it, in part with an opinion piece in the Albuquerque Journal.
As RGF has written in recent months, the recently-completed legislative session highlighted the Lujan Grisham Administration’s (and many of our State’s politicians’) fundamental misunderstanding of basic economic policy.
Keyes repeatedly makes arguments like “Unlike market-driven growth, economic development is a deliberate policy initiative to improve economic security for families.”
She goes on to write, “While the free market has brought us steady growth from many economic sectors, our initiatives target avenues to future-proof New Mexico with innovative, high-paying jobs for New Mexico graduates.
The core of this effort supports economic-base industry sectors – those that export goods and services and bring wealth into New Mexico from outside our borders.” She touts nine industries the Administration is supporting.
None of this makes any sense. States can certainly encourage certain industries on the margins, but there is no substitute for having strong free market policies in place that make a state an attractive place for economic activity. The Rich States, Poor States report outlines 15 specific economic policy measures that, if enacted, make a state more attractive as a destination.
New Mexico remains a poor and economically-undeveloped state because it has not embraced the fundamental economic policies Keyes seems to dismiss. Especially in recent years this Gov. has papered over those problems via massive subsidies using New Mexico’s booming oil and gas revenues, but those are not going to transform the State economy.
Below are just a few rankings highlighting New Mexico’s failure to develop its economy (along with links). Perhaps Keyes and the Gov. should focus on the basics as a starting point?: