Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Mexico: A Mississippi With Great Scenery? More Sobering Stats Slap State, Plus: Do Dems Need Their Own Gary Johnson?  

The Martinez administration and the Martinez Democrats in the Legislature think that our economic saviors will ride in on their white horses now that corporate income tax rates have been slashed. That's like giving aspirin to a patient suffering from brain cancer. To the videotape:

The national food bank organization, Feeding America, says its 2013 Map the Meal Gap study shows that New Mexico is the highest for childhood hunger in the U.S and has seen hunger grow for the third year in a row. The 2013 study shows that more 30 percent, or nearly 160,000 children, are experiencing hunger. 

Three years ago, when the first Map the Meal Gap study was released, New Mexico was at 27 percent for childhood hunger. The study also looked at the overall population and its rate of hunger. It shows 417,780 people, or 20 percent of New Mexicans, do not always know where they will find their next meal.

And more tape:

On the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of New Mexico...unemployment tops 60 percent and some families are still without electricity and running water...Tribal leaders have been asking for years for the federal government to streamline permitting processes and curb oversight to address the issue.

Why would corporate executives want to relocate their families here against that backdrop when they can get the same low corporate tax rates in a dozen other states?

Hispanics and Native Americans who compose well over a majority of the state's population have been hit especially hard by the recession. That's a chief reason we have climbed to that dubious #1 position in childhood hunger.


Earlier this week we reported on a Dem insider poll that shows many New Mexicans in a nearly "give up" mode when it comes to the deep social conditions crisis haunting the state. No wonder. The descent is shown in stark relief now that the economic boom that papered over some of the worst is gone and replaced by an economy that moves like a snail. Reader Jim McClure echoes what you hear a lot of in political circles: Where is the political leadership to lead the populace to expect more?:

I was not surprised that the survey you cited in Tuesday's blog that showed that New Mexicans accept our state's "Mississippi-with-great-scenery" stature. As a newcomer to New Mexico, what has surprised me most is the vigorous defense of an unsatisfactory status quo. My impression is that instead of fighting over how best to fix things, folks here tend to resist the idea that a fix is needed.

...Social-justice groups like LULAC focus on trivial pursuits like speaking Spanish in a supermarket and ignore substantive issues such as persuading Hispanic families to keep their kids in school.

Political leaders tend to be distracted by silver-bullet solutions --such as lowering corporate taxes without addressing the broad range of competitive issues such as workforce flexibility, regulation, etc.

What's needed is for political leaders to outline a vision for New Mexico's future and mobilize public and private talent in a comprehensive plan to make it happen. I'm not seeing that kind of leadership...

You wonder, Jim, if the state needs more psychiatrists and fewer politicians--psychiatrists to cure a large swath of the population of its low-self esteem. Once that's resolved, then maybe you get the political will to do something.


Hopefully the fires will flame out and the tourist season in Santa Fe won't take a big hit. The economy there is still pretty much flat-lined if the county budget there is any indicator:

The approximately $236 million budget represents a decrease from the nearly $240 million budget for the current fiscal year, which ends July 1.


Former KKOB-AM radio talk show host Jim Villanucci (remember him?) has ended up in Portland, Oregon where he will host a 9 a.m. to noon talk show on KXL-FM. Also ending up in Portland is longtime ABQ radio manager Milt McConnell who has been named VP for Alpha Broadcasting in Portland which includes KXL. Villanucci, who had a 14 year ABQ run, and Milt worked together at KKOB before Cumulus Radio took over and gave them the axe. When Nucci left ABQ he headed for his old stomping grounds in Vegas, but plans for a gig there didn't pan out. Villanucci, 50, told me his pay here topped out at about $120,000 a year but had been cut in half by the time he was forced out of KKOB earlier this year by the Cumulus budget-cutters. Enjoy those gray skies, fellas...


Since Gov. Martinez Democrats in the state Senate signed on to Martinez's corporate tax cut as a panacea for the state's economic woes and they were joined by the Dem leadership in the state House, they are going to have a hard time using stuff like this against the Governor in next year's election:

New Mexico’s economy grew by .2 percent in 2012, placing it 47th among the states and the District of Columbia in terms of GDP growth, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said...The state’s GDP was $70.7 billion in 2012, up from $70.5 billion in 2011, the BEA said in its annual report on state economies...

The Dems best bet to beat Martinez is probably a candidate similar to Republican Gary Johnson in background--a businessman with an independent streak who has not been tangled up with Santa Fe politics. Johnson was elected Governor in 1994 over incumbent Bruce King--the last time an incumbent governor was defeated.

Several readers said we should say "businesswoman" as well as businessman. And they're right.

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