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Let the Spending Begin

In the Op-Ed section of today’s Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico’s Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, Katherine Miller, has a letter which begins:

Recent calls for caution against a “spending spree” during the legislative session are prudent and necessary given the record amount of money that is available. In fact, Gov. Bill Richardson in a speech to business leaders last month said that he will not allow a spending spree.

Ok, this sounds good to me. A little restraint seems seriously past due. After all, when Gary Johnson left office the state budget was nearly $3.9 billion (an amount he had vetoed as excessive), and it has been growing larger ever since:

2002 – $3.9 billion
2003 – $4.0 billion
2004 – $4.4 billion
2005 – $4.7 billion
2006 – $5.1 billion

So, I’m thinking it’s about time to we show a little fiscal restraint up in Santa Fe. But wait, what’s this in the Metro Section (subscription):

Gov. Bill Richardson is proposing a nearly $5.7 billion state budget that provides for an 11 percent increase in spending next year and leaves room for about $125 million in tax cuts.

Oh no. Let the “spending spree” begin. Governor Richardson is throwing caution to the wind, and it’s spend, spend, spend up in Santa Fe. Think about it. In just five short years, Governor Richardson has allowed – no, make that encouraged – increasing state spending by almost TWO BILLION DOLLARS.