By Tracy Dingmann
I sat in the Roundhouse and listened to Gov. Susana Martinez’s State of the State speech yesterday. Our new Governor spoke very clearly and enunciated quite carefully, but I still came away confused.
I heard her speak about how excessive and reckless spending by our previous Governor got New Mexico into the financial conundrum that it is in today. But I didn’t hear her say anything about the collapse of the global economy that’s put virtually every other state there, too.
I heard Gov. Martinez talk about plans to fix New Mexico’s dire budget situation by eliminating “irrational red tape ” and declaring the state “open for business.” But open to what kind of businesses? Not to film companies – in her speech, Gov. Martinez all but called them a bunch of grifters.
“Irrational red tape” apparently, refers to the environmental regulations aimed at protecting our state’s air, water and land from pollution by oil and gas companies and other large industrial or extractive concerns. These companies had loudly bemoaned the regulations put in place by the previous administration. In her first days in office, Gov. Martinez swiftly put any such pending rules on hold. In her speech, she promised to do her best to overturn the ones that remain.
Just a thought: New Mexico’s spectacular vistas and unspoiled air and water are why people love living here – and why everyone else wants to visit. Our health and the health of our economy hinges on keeping those resources intact. We know from past examples that relaxing or eliminating regulations can pose real dangers to our water quality and supply, putting not only public health at stake, but future economic growth as well. No water, no dice.
So how would relaxing regulations and putting those things at risk help New Mexico?
One last thing. I listened to the Governor’s speech very carefully, but I fail to understand how fighting expensive and protracted battles to bring back the death penalty or rip drivers licenses out of the hands of “illegal” immigrants is going to help save our state any money.
For more perspective on Gov. Martinez’s speech, read this lovely summary from the Santa Fe Reporter’s Alexa Schirtzinger.