Sen. Michael Sanchez: critique of NM’s economy has merit, but he should look in the mirror when assigning blame

We don’t often agree with Sen. Michael Sanchez, but his article in Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal makes some good (if obvious) points about New Mexico’s struggling economy. You can read the article for yourself, but it is no secret that New Mexico is struggling. Naturally, Sanchez blames Gov. Susana Martinez for everything and (somewhat ironically) points to Texas and Colorado as states that are “doing well economically.”

That last point is especially interesting as Texas and Colorado have followed very different economic development routes from that of New Mexico. These policies were not the work of Gov. Martinez, rather they have been in place for decades. Decades during which Democrats controlled New Mexico’s levers of power.

So, as you can see below, New Mexico is heavily-reliant on government (compared to any state, including Texas and Colorado).


And, Texas lacks an income tax (on both personal and corporate income), is “right to work (a policy Sanchez abhors),” has aggressive tort reform laws on the books, and is generally a very free market place to do business (unlike New Mexico).

Colorado, (like New Mexico), does NOT have a “right to work” law, but they have the “gold standard” of taxpayer protections in their State Constitution. All tax hikes must be voted on by the people (at every level of government). And, if the government collects taxes above and beyond the combined rates of inflation and population growth, taxpayers receive a refund. It’s called the “Taxpayers Bill of Rights” and we’d love for Sen. Sanchez to endorse this for New Mexico but we’re not holding our breath.

Yes, Colorado has legalized pot and we’d support that for New Mexico, but in the overall scheme of a state budget, tax revenues from legalizing pot are small as even proponents of legalization acknowledge.

Lastly, Sanchez touts the Democrats’ “Economic Opportunity Plan.” Unfortunately, this hodgepodge of big-government proposals would do further harm to New Mexico’s economy rather than helping it. Sanchez and the Democrats love to blame Gov. Martinez for New Mexico’s economic woes, but our state’s problems preceded Martinez into office and, when she has put forth reforms like “Right to Work,” Sanchez has led the opposition to reforms that would make New Mexico’s economy look more like its successful neighbors (including Texas and Colorado).