Before the legislative session, we at the Rio Grande Foundation recommended that spending on higher education be cut. The University of New Mexico has experienced some cuts (totaling approximately 12 percent) since the recession began, but that doesn’t mean they have a “lean and mean” operation by any stretch of the imagination.
For starters, there is the lobbying. While we have not previously commented on this specific issue, it seems rather unfair that taxpayers are paying the salaries of these officials who (at taxpayer expense) ply elected officials with drinks, and ultimately are lobbying for more of our taxpayer money. Where are the taxpayer-funded lobbyists for LESS government spending???
Oh, and, in what might be the worst idea since Michael Weiner advocated buying the County Line Restaurant and turning it into a community center, today the Albuquerque Journal reports that the University wants to spend $3 million on a new baseball stadium because Isotopes Park is “inadequate.” Complaints include “too many empty seats” and that the park “doesn’t feel like our home.”
Wow. Is this a university or a sports franchise? Certainly, there are efficiencies to be had throughout the UNM budget (including academics), but asking for a $3 million stadium when you have a perfectly fine (even professional grade) facility right next door takes some real gall. If UNM’s regents have any brains at all, they’ll turn this ridiculous proposal down.