Richardson’s Selective Vetoes Expose Flawed Funding Process, Waste

According to Barry Massey of the Associated Press in the Albuquerque Journal (Gov. Vetoes $7M In Senate Pork, Mar. 6, 2008), the Governor vetoed $500,000 for “renovation of a law enforcement complex in Deming, $10,000 for a plasma television and related equipment, $10,000 for weight room equipment, and $30,000 for field maintenance equipment for the UNM Athletic Department.” A more extensive list of the vetoes is available in the article.
While seven million dollars is a relatively small amount compared to the $341 million worth of expenditures he approved, fiscal conservatives might take heart that the Governor is looking out for their interests.
While this may be the case and much of what the Governor vetoed should be funded locally and not by the State, the pattern of vetoes seems more related to politics than principle. In fact, among the “capital investments” approved by the Governor are “$4.5 million for an automobile assembly facility… $7.5 million to assist with a solar energy equipment manufacturing plant…[and] $7.5 million for infrastructure for a planned building for a financial services company.” Clearly, some of these funds are also unnecessary.
Gilbert Gallegos, Richardson’s spokesman, basically admitted that Senate inaction on Richardson’s health care bill was the real reason for the vetoes, saying: “Sen. Rawson” (one of the Senators targeted with the most vetoes) “has been purely partisan and defiant as a state senator. He is not willing to work with the governor in the best interest of New Mexico.”
Ironically, while it is clear that the funding process in New Mexico needs to change (or better yet have the money returned to taxpayers), taxpayers may be the short-term winners in this game of chicken. That is, as long as the Governor fails in his bid for government-controlled health care.