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About Time Someone Started Paying Attention

The budget situation in New Mexico gets bleaker by the minute:

Legislators expect the current revenue shortfall to grow – perhaps to $550 million or more – because of continued weakening of tax collections during the recession.

To prepare for that possibility, lawmakers are pushing for larger spending cuts than Richardson has proposed in his plan to balance the budget.

“We’re in deep, deep, deep trouble, and there absolutely is not going to be an easy answer,” Sen. John Arthur Smith, a Deming Democrat and vice chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, told his colleagues Monday as they reviewed options for balancing the budget.

Lawmakers see spending cuts as a permanent fix to the state’s budget woes. Reducing the budgets of agencies and programs realigns state expenditures more closely with projected revenues in coming years.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for our economic woes, look no further than the spending spree the Governor and his administration took us on during his years at the helm. A $100 million here, $400 million there, and next thing you know we’ve got big problems. Why this is coming as a surprise to anyone is beyond me.

Now consider that in addition to spending like there’s no tomorrow, Governor Richardson and his appointees have thrown caution to the wind and disregarded any and all safeguards intended to protect taxpayers from fraud and abuse:

Today State Auditor Hector Balderas released a report saying nearly 90 state agencies have failed to submit compliance audits as required by law. The total amount of dollars that hasn’t been audited according to a list I received is $1,177,233,118.00.

That’s right, over $1 Billion (that’s Billion with a “B”) spent without an audit. In light of the number of criminal indictments that have occurred in recent years when audits have been conducted, this is a very unsettling fact.

And, you wonder how we got into this mess?