Ouch: ABQ Biz First Headline: “Surprise — our economy’s taken another ‘alarming’ nosedive since May”

You simply can’t make terrible headlines up like this one from the Albuquerque Business First. It would get too depressing. A few nuggets from the article:

New Mexico’s economy nosedived between May and October, shedding thousands of jobs and labor force participants. And the state’s labor force participation rate, a measure of how many working-age residents are employed or looking for work, was the fourth-worst in the nation in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also, “Between April and October, the state lost 20,382 jobs, or 2.4 percent, and nearly 24,000 labor force participants, according to preliminary BLS figures.” You can read the whole sickening thing at the link above.

Also, we are the ONLY US state where home prices continue to decline. While home price reductions are not inherently a bad thing, they may be an indicator of a weak or shrinking economy and of people leaving the state.

2012 was a bad year economically for New Mexico with only 0.2% growth. The corporate tax rate cuts take five years to phase in and represent a relatively minor reform. Perhaps they could be accelerated? That would be a start.

We know the Democratically-controlled Legislature is not particularly interested in embracing policies that have generated economic growth like reduced taxes on income, regulatory reform, or right to work. They haven’t done a very good job over the last 50+ years they’ve been in control of the Legislature. Unfortunately, the “jobs council’s” new plan doesn’t provide much hope either as it is consultant-driven requests for more spending. The plan includes:

Creating a discretionary “closing” fund that could be used to help entice out-of-state businesses to relocate to New Mexico.
Increasing funding for the state Department of Tourism’s marketing and outreach programs.
Increasing the amount of money from the state Severance Tax Permanent Fund available to be invested by the Small Business Investment Corp.
Coordinating the efforts of state agencies with regional council of government districts to improve data gathering and economic planning.

Spurring economic growth and promoting economic freedom is not even mentioned among Gov. Martinez’s top priorities on her website:

Educating Our Children
Balancing the Budget
Ensuring Transparency and Ethics in Government
Keeping New Mexicans Safe

The sorry state of New Mexico’s economy provides both opportunity and peril for Gov. Martinez. If she takes the lead and explains that our economic situation is to a significant degree the result of poor policies enacted by the Legislature over the long-term. If she doesn’t get in front of the issue, however, Democrats are going to do everything in their power to blame her for New Mexico’s poor performance under her leadership.