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Richardson Pushes Payday Loans on New Mexico

Governor Richardson is still committed to having a special legislative session start this Friday. Why? Well, originally it was to try and push a budget busting healthcare plan that had rightly died during the last legislative session.

“We can invest in health coverage in a fiscally responsible way,” Richardson said in a statement. “While cynics will no doubt complain about using revenue from oil and gas, I am confident — as I have been for the past six years — that New Mexico’s economy is performing well and will allow us to expand health care coverage to all New Mexicans.”

Hmm, yeah…Let’s see that quote comes from a post I put up just 30 days ago. And, in 30 days that projected windfall has shrunk by over 40% (subscription), but Governor Richardson is never one to let reality get in the way of big spending:

“The bottom line is the state still expects $225 million in extra money — money that should go back to New Mexico families who are struggling to make ends meet,” Richardson said in a statement. “I am confident we can put money in people’s pockets in a fiscally responsible way.”

Last month, revenue collections were projected to be almost $400 million higher than anticipated in the current budget year. That was mostly because of money New Mexico collects from taxes and royalties on the production of oil and natural gas. But prices have dropped sharply since last month’s revenue estimates, which are developed by administration and legislative economists.

Governor, it would appear that those who are complaining about using oil and gas revenue are not so much cynical as they are realistic. The bottom line here is that Governor Richardson’s approach to spending is akin to going to a payday lender. The Governor is taking money he doesn’t have (i.e. projected) and spending it without concerning himself with consequences.

If he wants to put more money back in the pockets of struggling New Mexicans, he should cut the state spending budget that he has grown from $3.9 billion to over $6 billion and allow New Mexicans to pay less in taxes. Of course, that would be the fiscally sound way to give us back our money. But, no quite in keeping with the Governor’s tradional mode of operation.

Instead, he is proposing to give us back money that he hasn’t yet collected. In other words, he is taking out a payday loan to help those struggling New Mexicans. The exact strategy that puts many New Mexicans in a poor fiscal position in the first place. We all know that most of the people borrowing from payday lenders end up in a dire financial situation.

Mark my words, the end result of the Governor’s payday loan approach to spending based on a volatile projected revenue source will be more taxes for every New Mexicans – including those already struggling under a heavy tax burden.