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New Mexico Still Not on Its Financial Feet

PHOTO: Sally Gallosa participated with other retirees and members of labor and environmental groups, protesting sequestration cuts in the public and private sector at a time when the New Mexico economy is weak. Courtesy: Miles Conway, Communications AFSCME Council 18.
PHOTO: Sally Gallosa participated with other retirees and members of labor and environmental groups, protesting sequestration cuts in the public and private sector at a time when the New Mexico economy is weak. Courtesy: Miles Conway, Communications AFSCME Council 18.
May 20, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A newly published report about the condition of workers in New Mexico shows that the Land of Enchantment has yet to emerge from the Great Recession. The state has lost well over 42,000 jobs since December 2007.

The report's author is Gerard Bradley, senior researcher and policy analyst, New Mexico Voices for Children. He warned that the state may be jumping from the frying pan into the flames.

"This year, we decided to double down. Now, we're going to cut corporate income taxes massively, and the policy makers are expecting that to contribute to the growth of the New Mexico economy."

Bradley said it will not. The state is in a "jobs depression," he said, with one of the weakest economies in the nation. He added that New Mexico Voices for Children urges investing in the workforce, health care and the welfare of children as the way to improve the state's economy going forward.

Carter Bundy, political and legislative director for New Mexico, AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), said some decisions made by New Mexico legislators this year ran counter to improving the state's financial future, particularly in creating a solid workforce.

"The idea that we're going to start contracting out our education system to virtual, online education instead of having in-person educators, the lack of serious investment in early childhood education - these are the kinds of things that ensure that New Mexico will continue to stay behind," he said.

Among the best things citizens can do to turn New Mexico's economic future in a positive direction are to provide good nutrition and education for children, Bundy said, especially from birth until the age of 5.

There must be room for everyone in a healthy economy, he added.

"The governor's philosophy that we only help the rich doesn't translate into economic success anywhere. You need some wealthy people, but you also have to make sure that people who work for a living have adequate revenue, so they can turn around and spend money in the economy and can feed their family."

The report is available at www.nmvoices.org.

Renee Blake, Public News Service - NM