Executive Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2011

Governor Bill Richardson’s 181-page Executive Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2011 was released yesterday, and I’m having a really hard time making it past page ten:

Governor Richardson believes government must be managed in a fiscally responsible manner, and that every government program must be held accountable to the taxpayers. Throughout his administration Governor Richardson has worked to make sure every tax dollar is spent wisely. He has required state agencies to find efficiencies, streamline existing processes, realign resources as policy priorities change, and collaborate to reduce duplication and bureaucracy.

During his first year in office, the Governor implemented a number of efficiency measures, including eliminating unnecessary contracts, maximizing federal and other revenue, shifting dollars to the classroom, executing strategic purchasing and implementing a statewide performance review that by FY07 resulted in more than $80 million in savings to the citizens of New Mexico. He also stepped up enforcement against tax fraud to collect more back-taxes owed.

The only explanation for the above excerpt actually showing up in print is that the Governor has found money to hire joke writers. After all, there is a lot that can be said about how the Richardson Administration has managed the state, but the words “fiscally responsible” don’t belong anywhere in that description.

Let’s look at some of the key points being made here.

  1. “Every government program must be held accountable to the taxpayers” – When was the last time you heard about a government program being held accountable under the Richardson Administration? The correct response would be never.  The only government programs that have been shutdown for a lack of accountability have come about as a result of external indictments. Heck, even the proposed across the board “3-percent reduction in spending” is a way of avoiding holding individual programs accountable.
     
  2. “Throughout his administration Governor Richardson has worked to make sure every tax dollar is spent wisely.” – Talk about re-writing history. I’m trying to understand how losing $90 million in an effort to fill the pockets of campaign contributors is considered spending tax dollars wisely.
  3. “He has required state agencies to find efficiencies, streamline existing processes, realign resources as policy priorities change, and collaborate to reduce duplication and bureaucracy.” Let’s see, hardly a year went by where the Governor did not create new layers of government or dole out high paying government jobs to supporters. How this can be seen as reducing duplication and bureaucracy is anyone’s guess.

The rest of his claims are just as ridiculous.  Scanning through the actual line item proposals actually leaves one scratching his head as well. Sure, there are a lot of proposed cuts, but its the proposed increases that just don’t make a lot of sense.  For example when considering must haves during a time of economic crisis, consider whether these make the top of your list?

  1. 26.2% budget increase for the Athletic Trainers Practice Board
  2. 11% budget increase for the Interior Design Board
  3. 489% budget increase for the Office of the Natural Resources Trustee
  4. 28% budget increase for the Legislature

All I can say is that’s an interesting choice of priorities when you’re going to be coming after the taxpaying public for even more tax dollars.

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