ProgressNowNM, a far-left cookie-cutter (even down to their name) organization financed by George Soros and others is attacking the Rio Grande Foundation and members of the State Policy Network. The new attack campaign focuses primarily on money and where it comes from rather than any honest discussion over the issues and their merits.
Amusingly enough, however, ProgressNow has created alleged “fact sheets” on the Rio Grande Foundation and other SPN groups. To say that there are errors and downright falsehoods in the attack on the Rio Grande Foundation would be an understatement. Let’s go through them:
1) ALEC’s home in NM: Yes, the Rio Grande Foundation works with a wide variety of organizations including the American Legislative Exchange Council which we have hosted for an event. I once appeared alongside (on the same side) of an issue with Pat Davis of ProgressNowNM at a panel discussion sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. So what?
2) I am indeed on the board of New Mexico Connections Academy, an online charter school here in NM. Much like other schools contract with private, for-profit providers for textbooks, bus service, and technology, we contract with Connections. I am proud to play a direct role in increasing educational choice here in New Mexico!
3) My credentials in publishing in a wide variety of media outlets are strong. This accusation is just a rehashing of a blogger’s rantings from a few years ago. The original has been taken down. Wall Street Journal: here, here, here, and here.
US News & World Report: here.
If you take a look at these press clips, you’ll notice that I have been advocating for free markets and limited government for well over a decade since my days at the National Taxpayers Union in Washington, DC. I’m clearly in this work because I believe in free markets and limited government, not because some big $$ donors are paying us off…and you know what, I believe that the folks at ProgressNow are principled in believing that government has all the answers for society’s woes.
4) Regarding our supposedly “extreme” agenda for New Mexico, again I’ll take it point by point:
a) Defund and privatize New Mexico’s public schools with voucher programs and virtual schools: We support the rights of parents and children to choose the education that makes the most sense for them. Funding for education should flow through the child, not through the bureaucracy.
b) Block access to affordable healthcare for New Mexican families: We oppose the health care law known as ObamaCare and expansions of government programs like Medicaid. Rather, we support reducing government-imposed regulatory and tax barriers to health care that come between patients and their doctors.
c) Oppose environmental and pollution protections: Simply not true, but we do support cost-benefit analyses of all government regulations and weighing them against the economic benefits of industries such as oil and gas that support New Mexico’s economy.
d) Destroy public pensions: This is another false statement. Rio Grande Foundation supports reforms such as “defined contribution” retirement plans that give government workers control over their own retirements (much like private-sector workers) and removes control over government pension investments from politicians who have proved repeatedly to be poor stewards of these resources.
e) Attack workers’ right to organize and bargain by pushing so-called “Right to Work” legislation: Right to Work does nothing to prevent workers from organizing. It simply makes it illegal to force a worker to join a union as a condition of employment.
f) Cut off funding and revenue for essential government services: This is so general as to be utterly meaningless. RGF has never urged the elimination or dramatic reduction of government funding for police, fire, or roads.