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Multiple Choice Test

Imagine you’re the Governor of a state with limited resources, but you have a banner year due to revenue from oil and gas production taxation. What do you do with you new found wealth:

  1. Increase spending, so that you can use every last cent.
  2. Consider tax increases on oil and gas producers, so you’ll have more money next year.
  3. Propose spending one percent of your capital outlay budget on a luxury item that will benefit only one New Mexican.
  4. All of the above.

Well, it turns out if you’re anything like Governor Bill Richardson, you’ll choose #4. Spending is up. New taxes are advocated, and $5 million is proposed for a plane (subscription):

Richardson last year sparked controversy after planning to [illegally (registration)] spend as much as $4 million to buy a new plane to replace a 1966 Aero Commander, which Richardson officials said was unsafe.

The state General Services Department sold the older plane last month to a California company.

James Jimenez, secretary of the state Department of Finance and Administration, said House Democrats on Monday had a “mixed” reaction to Richardson’s proposal to buy a new state airplane.

That’s right. Governor Richardson is proposing to spend $5 million of the proposed $511 million in capital outlay from his long overdue plan (subscription) to replace a $58,000 plane. This is like replacing your $500 1980’s Buick with a brand new $50,000 Hummer. Since the Governor wants to spend a cool million dollars more than the plane he wanted to buy less than a year ago, I guess he is going for some of those hot option packages.

Just another day of misguided priorities in the Land of Enchantment.