We’ve come a long way from Martin Luther King’s March on Washington and his “I have a Dream” speech. To a great extent, America has achieved his vision of a color blind society. Obviously, no society or state is perfect and if you look hard enough, there are plenty of places where racial and gender preferences can be found.But should the government be one of those places?
Whether the issue is a fiscal one or Gov. Martinez sharing Dr. King’s vision of a color-blind society, she certainly kicked up a controversy when she vetoed appropriations for the African-American Performing Arts Center and zeroed out funding for the Commission on the Status of Women for a total savings of about $800,000.
The amount is indeed relatively small within the context of a $5.4 billion budget, but Martinez’s move is a wise one and I hope she’ll continue to veto race and gender-based spending around the state. After all, we all pay taxes to the government. Therefore, government is supposed to benefit ALL of us. Using money that is taken from taxpayers to benefit one or another group is unnecessarily divisive. Of course, this does not preclude private funding for any of these initiatives. The African-American Performing Arts Center and Commission on the Status of Women could both be funded through private donations if there are enough people out there who support these projects.
And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the blossoming scandal at the National Hispanic Cultural Center — another publicly-financed, race-based project — where, as the Albuquerque Journal reports, $380,000 in capital outlay money was used to pay salaries. The kicker, which the article doesn’t focus on, is that the woman in charge at the time when this money was used inappropriately was Clara Apodaca, the ex-wife of former Gov. Jerry Apodaca. Wouldn’t you think that a former first lady would have at least a cursory understanding of the difference between capital and operating funding?