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Richardson’s State of the State Outlines Bigger Government

First impression of the Governor’s State of the State is that it reminds me of my kids’ Christmas list this past year. You see, they are six and four, and my wife made the mistake of handing them a toy catalogue and telling them to pick what they wanted by folding down the pages. About twenty minutes later she received a forty plus page catalogue back with all but six pages folded over. Reading Governor Richardson’s State of the State, it sure feels like someone handed him a catalogue of all of his options for this legislative session, and he handed it back with ALL of the pages folded over.

In sixty days, Governor Richardson plans on passing laws that will solve everything from childhood obesity to reducing dependence on foreign oil. Heck, even the Governor’s pre-State comments indicated he was going to throw the “kitchen sink” at the Legislature. A word of caution, if you throw a kitchen sink, someone is going to get hurt. Let’s delve a little further, shall we:

We’re going to cut taxes for New Mexicans, focusing on single parents and low- and middle-income earners. The tax relief I am proposing is consistent with my approach: fiscally responsible, affordable, and sustainable. When we are blessed with additional resources, I believe we have a duty to turn some of those resources back to the people, not to more programs.

Amen, Governor Richardson. Give taxpayers back their money. Don’t take a projected surplus and create more government. I’m one hundred percent behind you. I take back all those things I have said about you in previous posts. You are a man who understands that government does not create prosperity. A government heavy economy has done little to help New Mexico rise to the top. Yes sir, Governor Richardson, we’re on the same page.

We want to provide tax exemptions for our promising aviation industry, and create the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to develop this important and innovative opportunity.

Oops, I may have spoke too soon. What happened? I thought we had an understanding. You’ve got the tax credit part down, but what is this about creating a new Government Authority. Remember, we just agreed to avoid creating more government bureaucracy.

I am proposing a 16-percent, 78.4-million dollar increase for Medicaid. This is responsible, manageable growth that will allow us to both protect our most vulnerable citizens and contain costs.

Oh no, this is a rapid down hill slide. I can’t believe your qualifying a one-year 16% increase in annual recurring expenses as responsible and manageable growth. Do you realize that at that rate the three-year compounded growth would be more than 50%? In the private world, we would call that “spiraling out of control.” This is starting to look like a serious departure from that opening promise.

To facilitate this, I am proposing the creation of the New Mexico Transmission and Storage Authority, which will help overcome some of the obstacles to wind energy development. It will concentrate on transmission planning, interstate negotiation, and financing tools in a new independent authority. It can help construct the transmission capacity we need to move our energy to markets in other states. And it will help produce billions of dollars in new construction and more stable utility costs for consumers.

Oh great, just what we need in this state, another Government authority. That is two new authorities in one speech. Governor, did you already forget how we feel about some of these other legislatively created authorities?

The Governor’s address is making me very nervous. The fiscal bottomline is that when the numbers are crunched, the new recurring expenditures he is trumpeting are going to far outweigh the tax cuts. If Governor Richardson succeeds in passing many of these new programs, it does not bode well for our state’s financial future.