Time and time again, it’s been written here that Governor Bill Richardson’s legacy amounts to spend, spend, spend. Of course, this has led us to the half a billion dollar budget crisis in which we now find ourselves.
Most everyone knows about the big ticket items. The very generous gift to billionaire Branson to pursue his space dreams. The even more expensive train, which will cost us tens of millions of dollars every year, and has resulted in a severly underfunded transportation system. But, what never seems to get quite the attention it deserves are the millions of dollars in newly created political payback jobs that have been handed out under Richardson:
Five years ago, just eight of Gov. Bill Richardson’s political appointees made more than $100,000 a year. Today, more than 100 earn at least that much.
Also up under Richardson: the number of gubernatorial political appointees, formally known as exempt employees.
In his first 15 months in office, the number of appointees scattered throughout government grew from 167 to 307. Today, there are 468 gubernatorial appointees in exempt positions.
That growth in the patronage, or spoils, system of state government is one of the legacies of Richardson as he prepares to vacate the Governor’s Mansion for a slot in Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
Now, the only question remains is whether or not Lt Governor Denish will do the right thing and clear government of “the spoils” when she takes over?