Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino has been in politics a long time. We even see eye-to-eye on a small handful of issues and our interactions have always been cordial (I wish I could say the same about other New Mexico “progressives.” But, his recent opinion piece in the Albuquerque Journal in which he argued that New Mexico should “end its oil revenue addiction” is foolhardy and dangerous.
While you should read the piece for yourself, Ortiz y Pino essentially argues that New Mexico should stop “relying” on oil and gas revenues. He doesn’t imply shutting down the entire industry. Indeed his argument is not directly an environmental one. However, he implies that there is some realistic way for New Mexico government to keep spending at current levels while completely eliminating 30% (he claims) or more of the State budget (oil and gas). Other reports say oil and gas are 40%, but at this point who’s really counting?
What does Jerry argue should replace the Industry? If you said tax hikes, you are a WINNER! He wants to “eliminate” Bill Richardson’s tax cuts, Susana Martinez’s tax cuts, eliminate GRT exemptions, tap the (oil and gas generated) Land Grant and Severance Permanent funds, raise capital gains taxes, and increase taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline.
Truly, this is a recipe for economic disaster. But, with “moderates” like John Arthur Smith riding off into the proverbial sunset, “progressives” especially those who have seniority like Ortiz y Pino will be empowered. If he gets his way good luck New Mexico!
The good news is even former Gov. Bill Richardson opposes raising taxes. So do 72 percent of Americans according to a recent poll from WalletHub. The Rio Grande Foundation is collecting legislative/candidate pledges to NOT raise taxes