With the prospect of a special session of the legislature fast approaching to address a looming budget crisis, the Center for Civic Policy is running this radio ad in selected areas of the state which offers our take on the issue and calls upon constituents to take action:
A thirty-second radio spot can hardly do justice to this fiscal train wreck. A bit of context is in order.
The State of New Mexico faces a serious budget deficit as the result of a shortfall in revenues. Revenue projections made back in January were overly optimistic, it seems. It now appears certain that Governor Martinez soon will call a special session of the legislature to fix a growing budget crisis.
The Governor’s answer is a 5 percent across the board cut in funding for state agencies. New revenues are off the table, she says.
To call this approach unwise would be an understatement. How about unconscionable.
Consider these facts about the quagmire in which New Mexico finds itself:
- 49th in child poverty
- K-12 funding is nearly 11% less per student than pre-2008 recession levels
- 7,000 fewer children fewer children receive child care assistance than in 2010
- Medicaid was already underfunded this year by $86 million, causing cuts of over $400 million in health care services when lost federal matching dollars are included.
- Low- and middle-income New Mexicans pay twice the rate in state and local taxes as the richest 1 percent.
We could go on and on.
Low oil prices are cited as the cause of the crisis. But overlooked in the midst of all the hand-wringing, are the horribly irresponsible tax policies enacted in recent years.
The cold hard truth of the matter is this: The Governor is determined to protect her prized corporate tax giveaways by making New Mexico’s working families pay for them.
In 2013 Governor Martinez and the legislature gave huge tax cuts and tax breaks to large corporations, many of them out-of-state. These so-called “business incentives” were supposed to cause an explosion of job creation.
Well, it hasn’t worked. They just took the money and ran.
Today New Mexico has the 3rd highest jobless rate in the nation.
It stands to reason that our continuing underinvestment in education and healthcare is making New Mexico a less than desirable place for companies that are looking for a place to relocate.
A better answer is for legislators to say “no” to more cuts. It’s time to make corporations and the well-connected pay their fair share.