Too many government employees in NM’s Legislature

There are too many government employees in NM’s Legislature. No, that’s not a statement of the Rio Grande Foundation or some other conservative think tank, it’s from Milan Simonich of the Santa Fe bureau of the Las Cruces Sun-News. The story itself is certainly worth a read and I can’t disagree with the central point of the piece that New Mexico is too reliant on government workers and has too many government workers in the Legislature (this isn’t to say that many of these government workers aren’t excellent legislators).

However, it would be great if New Mexico had more doctors, business owners, and other private sector workers. But which comes first, the chicken or the egg? As Simonich notes, New Mexico’s economy is way too dependent on government, so isn’t it logical that government is heavily-represented in the Legislature? Well, that is true, but New Mexico is also heavily-reliant on oil and gas and there’s not nearly as many of them in the Legislature as there are government employees (I know of only one oil and gas worker offhand).

Simonich alludes to the part-time nature of our Legislature as the source of the problem and I’m not necessarily going to disagree with him. It is certainly worth talking about. Even better would be an outright ban on anyone who receives a check (either directly or indirectly) from the State serving in the Legislature, but in some districts we might have unclaimed seats!

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4 Replies to “Too many government employees in NM’s Legislature”

  1. Regarding the possibility of unclaimed seats in some districts if there were a ban on NM state legislators receiving a check from the government: Would unclaimed seats in those districts be such a bad idea?

  2. “Even better would be an outright ban on anyone who receives a check (either directly or indirectly) from the State serving in the Legislature,” Excuse me?? Do you seriously think anyone has a right to “ban” certain classes of people from serving in elective office simply because someone doesn’t like where they work? It seems to me that according to our Constitution, it is voters who select their representatives, not executive directors of libertarian think tanks. In case you didn’t know, your proposal would require an amendment to the United States Constitution. Good luck with that. Just out of curiosity, who else would you like to “ban” from holding elective office, in spite of the wishes of their constituents? Could it be that members of the mythical “47%” who supposedly don’t pay any taxes are next on your list? While we’re going around “banning” people from holding public office, how about banning anyone who owns a business or works for a business that sells goods and services to state government? Talk about a conflict of interest…

    1. This is not a serious proposal but more of a counter-argument and I state that in the article. Nonetheless, there is an undeniable potential for conflict when one is getting their paycheck from the same entity whose budgets they are responsible for drafting and voting on.

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