2019 – Our Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham or MLG for short, has been very busy since she took office. Here is a summary of her actions which will result in increased costs, more regulation, less freedom, and a more dangerous place to live for New Mexicans:
January 10, 2019 – Lujan Grisham unveils $7.1 billion spending plan (https://www.abqjournal.com/1266876/lujan-grisham-unveils-7-1-billion-spending-plan.html )
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spending plan for the 2020 budget year would increase year-over-year state spending by $806.6 million over current levels. It would also authorize millions of dollars in separate one-time spending. Here are proposed funding levels for some key areas:• Public schools: $3.2 billion (18 percent increase).
• Higher education: $830.2 million (3.3 percent increase)
• Medicaid: $1.01 billion (6.7 percent increase).
• Courts, district attorneys and public defenders: $306.3 million (3.5 percent increase).• Prisons: $321.4 million (5.2 percent increase).
In January, the governor signed an executive order to formally join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 22 governors working to address climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. (https://www.abqjournal.com/1292839/nm-steps-up-on-climate-clean-energy.html )
With her support, the state Legislature passed a bill last week to increase the renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040, and require investor-owned utilities to source 100 percent of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.
April 9, 2019 – Governor launches rapid hire event in hopes of filling 1,000 state jobs (https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/governor-launches-rapid-hire-event-in-hopes-of-filling-1-000-state-jobs/1912128004?utm_source=newsfore&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1921&tqid=nPuta34lCVQBrTKr4UvhL3Rv7aWQ8QVVbFLkqXdN0Q)
April 23, 2019 – NM spending $3.5 million to boost census participation (https://www.abqjournal.com/1306335/nm-spending-big-bucks-to-boost-census-participation.html?utm_source=Santa+Fe+Reporter+List&utm_campaign=93e44fe0de-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_02_14_06_46_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b77a98714b-93e44fe0de-60466445&mc_cid=93e44fe0de&mc_eid=55ef4e89b7 )
New Mexico gets roughly $7.8 billion annually in federal dollars from 16 programs, including money for Medicaid, food stamps, early childhood education and road repairs.
The total amount makes New Mexico the third-most reliant state in the nation on federal funding, in terms of percentage of total state revenue, according to a recent Tax Foundation study.
Given that backdrop, the first-term Democratic governor said it’s important New Mexico take steps to ensure it receives all the federal funding it’s entitled to – especially since an estimated 43 percent of the state’s nearly 2.1 million residents live in “hard to count” areas.
The 2020 census will mark the first time that New Mexico residents – and those of other states – can respond online. Responses can also be entered via mail or by phone.
April 24, 2019 – Gov. Lujan Grisham Signs Executive Order Establishing Complete Count Commission for 2020 Census (https://www.ladailypost.com/content/gov-lujan-grisham-signs-executive-order-establishing-complete-count-commission-2020-census )
The commission, composed of state Cabinet secretaries as well as tribal and other community representatives, will promote and advertise the Census; focus resources on hard-to-count areas and populations; support and coordinate with local complete count committees; and guide the disbursement of resources as a means of ensuring the highest participation rate possible.
April 28, 2019 – Governor turns her focus to health care (https://www.abqjournal.com/1308091/governor-turns-her-focus-to-health-care.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-headlines&utm_source=Albuquerque+Journal+Newsletters&utm_campaign=a7366cea8c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_04_28_01_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dcf4c82cd-a7366cea8c-108575969 )
The state ranked 48th out of 50 for access to health care in a recent report by Merritt Hawkins, a national physician recruiter. The analysis considered 33 factors, including physicians per 100,000 population and percentage of those with insurance.
The Lujan Grisham administration has some money to work with. The general-fund budget for the year beginning July 1 authorizes about $7 billion in spending – a record high, driven largely by an oil boom in the southeastern part of the state.
About $987 million in the general fund is dedicated to Medicaid, about $52 million more than this year, for an increase of nearly 6%. The state money, in turn, is used as a match for federal funds.
Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal and state governments and provides health care to low-income people and families. The federal government pays New Mexico roughly $3 to $4 for every dollar the state spends.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who took office Jan. 1, also supports expansion of UNM Hospital – an idea that stalled under the previous governor, Republican Susana Martinez.
A capital outlay package signed by Lujan Grisham this year includes $30 million in state funding for a new medical tower at UNM Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in the state.
The governor has also touted the merits of a Medicaid buy-in proposal that would allow people to pay a monthly premium to receive insurance through Medicaid.
Lujan Grisham said it would target people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.
It’s a critical way to expand access to health care, supporters say.
Opponents, in turn, say the program would worsen the financial challenges of providers who already make less serving Medicaid patients.
11-28-2018 Sadly, Steve Pearce was defeated in his bid for Governor. Michelle Lujan-Grisham will become our new governor. We intend to follow her actions and report on what she is doing. She will no doubt have the opportunity to do plenty of damage during her tenure. We will leave the comparisons between Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan-Grisham posted so readers can refresh their memories about what policies she plans to pursue. Please stay tuned!!
In addition to the two visions listed below, here are several other issues and Steve’s position vs. Michelle’s provided courtesy of the New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC).
Increasing the state’s minimum wage: : NMBC is opposed to government mandated wages. Period. Free, competitive markets will set wages appropriately.
Increased minimum wages will hurt the very people that some say they are trying to help. How?
1) Employers who can’t afford the increase will shed positions or go out of business, meaning fewer jobs;
2) People in some positions impacted by the increase will be replaced with kiosks and self-checkouts. Have you been to Wal-Mart or Sams recently?
3) Those employers who don’t go out of business will raise prices to cover the increased wage costs, which means higher service and commodity costs. And the working poor could find themselves further behind than before the ‘raise.’
NMBC’s op ed on minimum wage has been published here.
Here are the candidates’ intentions in regards to raising the minimum wage:
Pearce: NO, he will not raise the minimum wage;
Lujan-Grisham: YES, she will raise the minimum wage initially to $10/hour and go up to $12/hour with automatic cost of living increases.
Raiding the permanent fund: NMBC has worked for years to protect the Land Grant Permanent Fund from being decimated by mismanagement and distributions that are too high. We have testified in more legislative committees than we can count to stop legislators from treating this fund like the state’s bank account – it is not. The fund is designed to provide for our children’s education in perpetuity and in just a few years – if left alone – will provide $1billion/year for that purpose. The fund will continue to grow and provide more to education, if we can keep the raids from occurring. Currently the fund saves tax payers about $1,100/year in taxes.
Here are the candidates’ intentions in regards to the Land Grant Permanent Fund:
Lujan-Grisham: YES, she wants more out of the fund
Pearce: NO, he does not want to increase distributions from the fund