The fact is that government pension reform is essential if New Mexico is going to survive economically. The commitments that have been made by our state (and other states) were never viable because they were political, not economic decisions. The Rio Grande Foundation has been a leader in pointing this out here and here, for example. Also, check here for an outrageous case-study.
While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been a national lightning rod for the unions, but Rhode Island, a liberal state controlled by Democrats may provide New Mexico’s liberal politicians with both a model and a cautionary tale. This report on the reforms enacted in Rhode Island was enlightening to say the least.
While unpopular with government employees who seem to believe every promise, no matter how unbelievable, Rhode Island’s political leaders understood that the state was on its way to insolvency if something was not done. And, unlike many New Mexico Democrats who seem to believe that higher taxes are a panacea, Rhode Island’s made tough, sometimes unpopular decisions, in the wake of opposition from one of the best-funded, best-organized special interests around (government employee unions).
So, kudos to Rhode Island and my fellow New Mexicans, it is time to get serious pension and benefit reform!