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!