One Boondoggle to Another

We’ve certainly discussed the extremely flawed capital outlay process a few times before in this space. So, we read with interest the Albuquerque Journal’s recent stories on the capital outlay money that was shifted from some projects to others (especially the Unser Museum) recently. Tthe articles are for subscribers only and can be found here and here, but essentially what happened is that the Governor redirected $1.5 million to the Museum.
I’ve been to the Unser Racing Museum and I can vouch for the fact that it is both a nice facility and that it is poorly attended. In fact, it averages only 30 customers per day. Oh, and of course the Unsers are big contributors to Richardson.
So, do I begrudge the Guv? To be honest, not really. The capital outlay process is a disaster in need of reform. And, while the Unser Museum may be a money pit, at least it is not spurring the creation of additional even bigger goverrnment. In other words, Richardson actually saved Albuquerque taxpayers money (and preserved property rights) by redirecting $174,000 away from Mayor Marty’s hoped for arena and diverting $700,000 from a planned “extreme sports park” at the Big I which would have involved the City forcibly taking land from a private company currently located there.
Were the vetoes political? Probably. Is the capital outlay process a disaster? Definitely. Were the vetoes good for taxpayers and property owners regardless of their motivation? The answer to that is most likely “Yes.” Particularly in these tough economic times, I think most New Mexicans would rather see that money remain in their own pockets.