Errors of Enchantment Blog Postings

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Why is New Mexico not realizing its potential?
Updated: 1 hour 36 sec ago

“Non-Partisan” League of Women Voters opposes charter schools, private schools, and RGF (just about all school choice)

Tue, 2014-12-23 12:01

To anyone who follows politics and public policy, the League of Women Voters (LWV) long ago ceased being a “watchdog” organization and is now an avowedly left-wing organization. For a taste of their left-wing positions, check out their “health care” statements.

Of course, their misguided policies are not limited to health care. The LWV in New Mexico, according to a new article in the Las Cruces Sun-News, apparently opposes most forms of school choice as well.

The article begins by claiming that charter schools receive more funding per pupil than traditional public schools when the University of Arkansas found that NM charters receive less per-pupil than traditional public schools.

The author then attacks the very existence of statewide virtual charter schools and errs in claiming that Connections Academy (I am on the board of this school) manages the school contrary to NM’s Constitution. The board manages the school as is made clear in our charter.

Continuing the disinformation, the author claims that New Mexico has “religious-affiliated schools masquerading as public charters.” I am not sure what this even means, but religious schools are funded by tuition paid for by students and their families, not the taxpayer. And then she attacks Rio Grande Foundation for supporting the creation of more charter schools (we do support charter expansion, tax credits, vouchers, and all manner of school choice).

The League of Women Voters has fallen long and hard since the days when it was a non-partisan organization supporting civic debate and involvement.

A new group joins the Right to Work fray & the latest on the issue

Mon, 2014-12-22 16:43

A new organization calling itself “Jobs For All New Mexico” is going to be making the push in the 2015 legislative session for a Right to Work law.

Also, there was an interesting, personal story from Paul Dipaola of US Bank in the Albuquerque Biz First newspaper.

Lastly, in an indicator of the types of problems that major businesses can often face in non-Right to Work states, the CEO of Boeing recently discussed his company’s difficulties with unions and their new factory which is located in South Carolina, a Right to Work state.

This Week on the Rio Grande Foundation Bi-Weekly “New Mexico Freedom Hour” Radio Show on 770 KKOB AM Radio!

Fri, 2014-12-19 15:29

This Week on the Rio Grande Foundation
Bi-Weekly “New Mexico Freedom Hour”
Radio Show on 770 KKOB AM Radio! This Saturday From Noon to 1:00PM!

The “New Mexico Freedom Hour” is presented by the Rio Grande Foundation. It next airs on Saturday, December 20, 2014 from noon to 1:00pm on 770 KKOB AM.

Steve McKee
Dax Contreras

This week, Paul Gessing will be interviewing Steve McKee and Dax Contreras. McKee, an Albuquerque-based businessman, is president of McKee Wallwork & Company and author of Power Branding and When Growth Stalls. He’s also a frequent contributor to Businessweek. Contreras is the new Executive Director of the newly-formed “Jobs for All New Mexico.”

They’ll discuss the New Mexico economy and what we can do to improve it.

Listeners are encouraged not only to tune in and listen, but to call in with questions: 505-243-3333. The show is also available streamed online at

Thanks for your interest and support.


NM Republicans would be fools to raise the minimum wage, unless…

Fri, 2014-12-19 10:48

A splashy front-page article appeared in today’s’ Albuquerque Journal indicating that raising the minimum wage is going to be considered during the 2015 legislative session despite Republicans having taken over the House (and holding the Governor’s mansion).

Even if, defying basic economics, raising the minimum wage doesn’t result in job losses, raising the wage is NOT going to do anything positive for New Mexico’s economy. Republicans should be focused on policy reforms that WILL result in economic improvement. The reality, of course, is that raising the minimum wage results in lost jobs as the Congressional Budget Office pointed out earlier this year.

Polling shows that Americans support raising the minimum wage, but that support evaporates if it kills jobs:

All of this strongly points to Republicans NOT raising the minimum wage. But it could, as Rep. Varela noted, be a point of compromise. And that is where a hike in the minimum wage could be tolerable. It should be big though. Right to Work or elimination of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws. I can’t really think of another compromise that would make sense for Republicans to take the politically-foolhardy and economically problematic step of raising the minimum wage, but it could exist.

Thank enviros for PNM 12% rate hike — and more hikes to come

Thu, 2014-12-18 13:37

With the 2015 legislative session around the corner, things have been pretty busy at the Rio Grande Foundation, but we didn’t miss the announcement by PNM that the company would be asking for a shocking 12 percent rate hike for residential customers. Of course, this is just a down-payment on what the radical environmentalists and the Obama Administration would like to do to your utility bills.

PNM (now the only publicly-traded company in NM) won’t blame them outright because they already have to deal with these well-funded groups and their allies in Santa Fe. The reality is that the Obama Administration is out to bankrupt the coal industry with its costly new regulations. And New Mexico’s policymakers have previously saddled us with a costly renewable portfolio standard mandate which will get more expensive as it is fully-phased in by 2020.

Environmentalists (and New Mexico’s Senators) only express public support for wind and solar. Coal, oil, natural gas, and even nuclear (the fuels that actually work to provide reliable, affordable power) get nothing but scorn.

As motorists celebrate newly-inexpensive gasoline, we better take note that if we don’t stand up to the radical environmental groups, those savings will be more than wiped out by higher utility costs that will do nothing to reduce global warming.

The drop in gas prices is a good thing — even for New Mexicans

Wed, 2014-12-17 21:52

I know it might seem to be an obvious point to make that the recent, dramatic drop in oil prices is a good thing. Indeed, numerous media reports have pointed out that falling gas prices are like a tax cut.

But some are saying that gas prices are too low. Certainly, it is going to be a negative for New Mexico’s government revenues. It could also have a significant, negative impact on parts of New Mexico’s overall economy, especially those in the Permian Basin.

Ultimately, however, low oil and gas prices are a good thing. One reason being somewhat obvious, the other rather counter-intuitive.

1) Dropping oil and gas prices put money in individuals’ pockets while taking it from government. As a supporter of a free market economy who believes (based on ample research and experience) that individuals are better stewards of their money than government, the money that lower prices at the pump will put back in New Mexicans’ pockets will be put to far better uses than money sent to Santa Fe.

Times of plenty in government, regardless of political control, typically mean more spending. Reduced funding leads to prioritization and tough decisions (even, gasp! CUTS)….which leads me to point two.

2) New Mexico’s economy is overly-reliant on the federal government and the oil/gas industries. We have desperately needed to strengthen the private sector in our state so as to not rely on DC or volatile oil and gas prices. Particularly in light of the recent electoral results, New Mexico is ripe for significant reforms that should lead to a more competitive private sector. Those who don’t take the need for reform seriously enough already will face the additional, persuasive factor that the 31% of our State’s budget provided by oil and gas is going to be shrinking significantly in coming years.

My Family’s ObamaCare Ordeal

Mon, 2014-12-15 16:49

I recently wrote an article explaining that my family which includes me, my wife, and two small children, saw our health insurance canceled due to the new health care law known as “ObamaCare.” We had an “individual” health savings account (HSA) which covered the four of us and cost $344 a month. That plan was supplemented by a savings account funded by my employer with pre-tax contributions.

I have had an individual HSA through Blue Cross since I began with the Rio Grande Foundation in early 2006.

We were very happy with our plan. It wasn’t perfect, but it covered our family at a reasonable cost and it gave us strong incentives to control costs and prioritize our health care spending. Of course, things happen and we did use the plan. Earlier this year, for example, we had two emergency room visits within a short time period to take care of a gall bladder issue. Thankfully, because our plan had a savings account component, we had pre-tax savings in place to take care of these bills.

Unfortunately, like thousands of other New Mexicans, in early October, we got the news that our health insurance policy was being cancelled at years-end.

The cancellation of our policy meant that starting on November 15 we had to start the search for a new plan. We had heard the nightmares about the glitches with and, thankfully, didn’t experience any of those. That website and the others relating to our search for a new health insurance policy worked well.

The bad news is that when we finally did find health insurance policies that made sense for our family, the prices were far higher than our current plan. The “bare-bones” plans started just north of $500 (an increase of about 50 percent).

Ultimately, we settled on a Presbyterian HMO “Silver” plan costing $722 per month. The plan is better than our current plan in some ways and worse in others. Of course, with a price that is more than double that of our current plan, this represents a significant additional financial burden on me and my family.

The Rio Grande Foundation opposed “ObamaCare” and further federal involvement in America’s health care system for principled philosophical reasons. It was impossible to know at the time just how personally costly this law would end up being.

Unfortunately, our experience is undoubtedly not unique in New Mexico or across the nation.

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

Are school choice tax credits finally coming to NM?

Mon, 2014-12-15 13:34

While RGF has spent a great deal of time since Election Day discussing the likely benefits of a Right to Work law, such legislation is by no means the only potential policy reform that has been made more likely in the wake of the Republican takeover of New Mexico’s House.

Another such reform is the expansion of school choice options for New Mexico students. As Albuquerque Journal columnist Winthrop Quigley rightly pointed out recently, New Mexico’s education system and poorly-prepared workforce are major impediments to economic growth.

The good news is that there are solutions for our education woes that don’t involve turning the massive, bureaucratic, education system around. Tax credits for school choice are one of them and they have been enacted by 14 states on a bi-partisan, cross-ideological basis. From conservative strongholds like Alabama and Arizona to liberal Rhode Island and center-left Pennsylvania, children have gained access to school choice tax credits.

In 2015, New Mexico will once again have legislation introduced to create a tax credit scholarship program the basic outline of which is explained here. We know that the primary opponents of school choice, the teachers’ unions, have less power than they did before, but there is no way to know at this point whether the Legislature, particularly the Senate, will stand up for kids or for the status quo.

Misconceptions Abound on “Right to Work”

Fri, 2014-12-12 16:23

In the wake of the 2014 elections, New Mexico has a unique opportunity to enacted long-overdue economic reforms. The goal of those reforms must be to wean our struggling economy off of an increasingly-unreliable Washington by developing a strong private sector.

At the top of the agenda is a “right to work” law which, far from being “anti-union” would simply prohibit so-called “closed shop” agreements that require workers to pay union dues as a pre-condition of employment. Forcing workers to pay dues for any organization is simply wrong. Private sector unions can and should exist and they would be better advocates for workers if they actually have to prove they are worthy of membership.

It is worth noting that 20 of the 24 current “right to work” states have higher private sector unionization rates than New Mexico. In other words, due to the historical weakness of New Mexico’s private sector, these unions have had relatively few members. If New Mexico can strengthen its private sector with “right to work” and some other pro-growth policy reforms, private sector unions could see real growth.

Union growth took place in “right to work” states between 2011 and 2012 when those states saw an overall increase of 39,000 union members while non-“right to work” states lost 390,000 members, a 3.4 percent decrease.

Despite recent statements to the contrary by AFL-CIO president Jon Hendry a “right to work” law won’t kill New Mexico’s film industry. In fact, according to a report by Film Production Capital which ranked state film programs, the top three film-friendly states (Louisiana, Georgia, and North Carolina) are all “right to work.” New Mexico was ranked 7th.

The real reason New Mexico policymakers are looking seriously at “right to work” is the potential economic and job-growth potential. By any reasonable measuring stick, “right to work” states have been outperforming “forced unionism” states for years. In 2013, 8 of the top 10 states in job growth were “right to work.”

Between 2002 and 2012, fully 9 of the top 10 states in job growth were “right to work.” On the other hand, each of ten slowest-growth states over that time span lacked a “right to work” law.

Notably, while job growth is higher in “right to work” states, personal income growth is growing faster in these states as well.

Yes, but isn’t “right to work” really “right to work for less?” It is true that “forced unionism” states have higher median incomes, but once those incomes are adjusted for living costs, it is in the “right to work” states that a median personal income goes further. In fact, once cost of living is accounted for, the median income in “right to work” states is about $5,000 higher than in “forced-unionism” states.

If “right to work” were so awful and really meant the destruction of worker incomes, one might expect that such states would be losing population. The reality is, however, that Americans are moving in ever-greater numbers to “right to work” states. According to the US Census, between 2000 and 2010, “right to work” states saw their populations grow by nearly 16 percent while other states grew by about 6 percent.

Lastly, contrary to the hysterical statements of union leaders, “right to work” is popular. According to a national Gallup poll released in August, 65 percent of Democrats support “right to work” while an even more overwhelming 3 of 4 Republicans and independents supported it.

Those are enviable popularity numbers for any politician, but it is even more noteworthy that in the same Gallup poll Americans approved of unions 53-38 percent. In other words, Americans understand that one can support unions and support “right to work” at the same time.

Our children shouldn’t have to leave our state to find decent jobs. We can begin reforming our economy by making New Mexico “right to work.”

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

Recent radio interviews/discussions w/ Robert Bryce, on unemployment rate improvement, and the New Mexico Spaceport

Thu, 2014-12-11 16:46

Paul Gessing recently interviewed energy expert Robert Bryce on the “New Mexico Freedom Hour.”

Gessing also spoke to Mike Jaxson on “This Week in the Pecos Valley” about the Spaceport’s problems and the recent improvement in unemployment rates both nationally and in New Mexico.

Energy Expert Robert Bryce Discusses “Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper” in Albuquerque

Thu, 2014-12-11 16:17

Robert Bryce is one of America’s foremost authors and experts on energy. Specifically, he is an optimist about America’s economic future fueled in part by affordable, reliable energy. Bryce is also a skeptic regarding the “politically-correct” sources of energy beloved by environmentalists.

He discussed his book and his views on some important energy issues including the “shale revolution,” coal, “renewables,” and his optimism about America’s future. Video is available below:

Robert Bryce discusses, Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper in Albuquerque, NM on December, 9, 2014 from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

Explaining the folly of NM’s Spaceport

Mon, 2014-12-08 09:33

New Mexico’s political leaders have few tools available to make the New Mexico Spaceport a viable initiative moving forward. We the taxpayers have already dumped $220 million into the facility to build it (sunk costs). The question at this point seems to be whether the facility can at least generate enough revenue to pay for day-to-day operations.

I recently sat down with Channel 13 KRQE to discuss the issue (my comments come toward the end of the story):

Given the recent crash in the Mojave Desert, there has been an upsurge of interest both nationwide and around the world. I recently discussed New Mexico’s struggles with the Texas Tribune and was quoted by a reporter from the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

NM comes in at top of a few bad lists

Fri, 2014-12-05 11:09

In the Wall Street Journal this week, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute argued that state pension funds are violating basic rules of investing by placing too much of their investments in highly-risky investments. The article, “Public Pensions Need Gamblers Anonymous” noted that New Mexico’s pension system was the worst offender in the nation with fully 85% of its money invested in “risky assets.” According to the article:

Many individuals follow a rough “100 minus your age” rule to determine how much risk to take with their retirement savings. A 25-year-old might put 75% of his savings in stocks or other risky assets, the remaining 25% in bonds and other safer investments. A 45-year-old would hold 55% in stocks, and a 65-year-old 35%. Individuals take this risk knowing that the end balance of their IRA or 401(k) account will vary with market returns.

Now consider the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), the largest U.S. public plan and a trendsetter for others. The typical participant is around age 62, so a “100 minus age” rule would recommend that Calpers hold about 38% risky assets. In reality, Calpers holds about 75% of its portfolio in stocks and other risky assets, such as real estate, private equity and, until recently, hedge funds, despite offering benefits that, unlike IRAs or 401(k)s, it guarantees against market risk. Most other states are little different: Illinois holds 75% in risky assets; the Texas teachers’ plan holds 81%; the New York state and local plan 72%; Pennsylvania 82%; New Mexico 85%.

In another unfortunate bit of news for the Land of Enchantment, the website 24/7 Wall Street ranked New Mexico the “2nd-worst-run state in America.”

As the site noted:

New Mexico struggles with poverty and low incomes. Nearly 22% of New Mexico residents lived in poverty last year, the second highest rate after Mississippi. A typical household in New Mexico earned less than $44,000 in 2013, below all but a handful of states. The state’s crime rate was also higher than in all but one other state, with 613 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2013. Like several other states at the bottom of the list, people left New Mexico faster than they moved into the state. Between the middle of 2010 and July 2013, the state lost 9,750 residents to migration alone. S&P recently revised its outlook on New Mexico’s credit rating to negative from stable. The revision was based on New Mexico’s weak economic recovery from the recession and over-reliance on government aid and the energy sector.

Notably, as this article points out, most of the worst-run states (including New Mexico) happen to be governed by liberal policymakers.

Clearly, New Mexico’s elected leaders face some very thorny issues. The question is whether policymakers in Santa Fe, specifically in New Mexico’s Democratically-controlled Senate, make needed changes or follow the status-quo path to failure?

HT: Charles Sullivan

Public Workers at top of NM Economic Heap

Thu, 2014-12-04 10:11

Great article from today’s Albuquerque Journal which discusses how New Mexico is too reliant on federal government jobs. It is well worth a read.

There are a few points, however, that I think were missed or that need to be corrected in the article.

For starters, while it is definitely the case that New Mexico is uniquely-reliant as a state on Washington (and that needs to change), seven of the wealthiest 10 counties in America are wealthy because of their close proximity to government. Six of the 10 are in the DC suburbs with Los Alamos also found in the top-10. Wealth due to proximity of government is a serious problem in America and an indicator that Washington plays too big a role in our nation’s economy.

While “activists and economists” in the article blame New Mexico’s poor performance on poverty and low education levels, it would seem that the real culprit is our State’s poor economic policies. After all, the residents of all states were poor and ignorant at some point. It is the natural state of man. But those states worked hard, built businesses, grew prosperous, and invested in the future (in part by creating a functioning education system). New Mexicans just did less of those things and I don’t think it’s because we’re naturally less hard-working or less intelligent. It has to do with public policy.

And lastly, in what amounted to almost a “throwaway” line at the end of the article, “having a huge police force” is cited as a reason Los Alamos is a safe place to live. I disagree. Los Alamos is safe because the people living there intuitively respect the rule of law and understand how that respect benefits everyone in a given society. They have a large police force in Los Alamos because they can afford it.

Losing our Land show to air tonight on the conflict between cattle ranchers and the federal government in NM

Wed, 2014-12-03 13:44

Tonight on some television stations at 6pm Blaze Dish Satellite Channel 212 or 202 or online here, there is a special discussing land management issues of particular interest to New Mexicans.

The producers were in NM for three days in June.

Day 1 – Impact of U.S. Forest Service fencing cattle off water in the Agua Chiquita in the Lincoln National Forest to protect the habitat for the endangered Meadow Jumping Mouse.

Day 2 – Impact of Obama’s Proclamation of the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument on ranchers in Doña Ana County.

Day 3 – Impact of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biased management of Chiquita in the Lincoln National Forest to protect the habitat for the endangered Meadow Jumping Mouse. National Monument on ranchers in Doña Ana County. Mexican wolves on ranchers and rural communities in New Mexico and Arizona who bear the brunt of the economic burden.

A short preview of the show can be found below:

Rio Grande Foundation Corrects Ten Misconceptions about Impact of Right to Work on New Mexico

Wed, 2014-12-03 09:04

(Albuquerque, NM) — In the wake of the 2014 elections, it appears that New Mexico’s Legislature may consider making the Land of Enchantment the 25th “right to work” state in the United States. The new policy brief, “Top 10 Misconceptions about Right to Work in New Mexico,” Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing corrects some of the popular misunderstandings about what a law will and won’t do for our State.

As a starting point Gessing notes that “right to work” laws are first and foremost about free association. Individuals should be able to join or not join unions as they wish and should not be coerced into joining them or paying dues to them as a condition of employment.

This principle of free association is not “anti-union.” Rather, a “right to work” law means that unions have to provide real, tangible benefits to their members. It is worth noting that, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 20 of the 24 states with existing “right to work” laws have higher private sector unionization rates than New Mexico.

Said Gessing, “Given New Mexico’s historical lack of a strong private sector, adopting a “right to work” law would be a logical first step for economic development.” In the paper, Gessing notes that “right to work” states have seen faster growth in jobs, per-capita income, and overall population than their “forced-unionism” brethren.

Not surprisingly, noted Gessing, “Given the fact that more and more people are voluntarily moving to live and work in ‘right to work’ states, once living costs are accounted for, residents of those states enjoy median incomes that are more than $5,000 higher than those in ‘forced-unionism’ states.” In other words, while median incomes are somewhat lower in “right to work” states, Americans continue to move to those states due to the greater worker freedom and because the reduced cost of living more than makes up for the slightly lower pay.

Lastly, according to polling data collected in August 2014 from Gallup, while Americans support unions by a 53-38 percent margin, they support “right to work” laws by much wider margins and across party lines. While it is difficult to find such widespread agreement on any issue, 77 percent of independents, 74 percent of Republicans, and 65 percent of Democrats support “right to work.”

States that currently are Right to Work are shown in red in the map below:

New Mexico jumps in “Economic Freedom” Index

Tue, 2014-12-02 15:50

We at the Rio Grande Foundation believe that economic freedom is the most comprehensive and important single measurement of a particular economy’s likelihood of generating wealth and prosperity. If that is the case, New Mexico has experienced some rare good news via the free market, Canada-based, Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom of North America which was just released with 2012 data.

New Mexico which had been buried in 50th place for two straight years has risen to a tie for 40th alongside South Carolina and Hawaii. The states which New Mexico beat out include Maine, Vermont, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, West Virgina, New Jersey, and California.

It is a bit of good news although there is no doubt that 40th place is not good enough. Certainly, more work is needed to turn New Mexico’s economy around.

Also of interest, the Fraser Institute included Mexican states in the rankings for the first time ever. The full report can be found here.

More analysis of why NM Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to improve Amtrak tracks

Mon, 2014-12-01 11:54

The following was submitted to the Albuquerque Journal in response to Amtrak’s desire to saddle taxpayers in New Mexico for a significant portion of track upkeep costs.

The author, far from being anti-rail, is a member of the Northeast Kansas Garden Railway Society, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Oregon Rail Heritage Center, Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, Colorado Railroad Museum, and Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum Foundation.

Dear Editor,

The citizens of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas are being asked to subsidize both Amtrak and BNSF to upgrade and maintain the rail route from western Kansas, through southeast Colorado, to Albuquerque via Raton Pass to passenger train standards so that the Southwest Chief can continue to use the route. If the dollars are not forthcoming, Amtrak is threatening to cancel the Chief, or route it on the BNSF Transcon, bypassing western Kansas, Colorado, and northern New Mexico.

The only train currently using the Raton Pass route is the Chief, one east-bound and one west-bound a day. BNSF does not operate freight trains on the route. The Chief’s normal revenue consist is three coaches and two sleepers, able to accommodate on the order of 320 paying riders at any one time. Data in a 2012 Brookings report shows that the federal government subsidized Amtrak $187 for each Chief’s ticket sold. For the last 12 months, the Chief’s on-time performance has been 57.6%.

To maintain the track for this insignificant contribution to the transportation of people, the states are being asked to provide $100 million up front for capital improvements and $10 million annually for maintenance. States, being unable to print money, will have to put the bite on taxpayers to be so generous to Amtrak and BNSF. With state budgets already under great pressure, it is not in the citizens interest to hand out dollars for Amtrak’s benefit – it will have no discernable impact on the ability of citizens to travel and the return on investment, if any, will be many places to the right of the decimal point.


John D’Aloia Jr., Captain, USN (RET)

Rio Grande Foundation Submits Comments in Opposition to EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Mon, 2014-12-01 09:19

(Albuquerque, NM) —The Rio Grande Foundation today joined with elected officials and organizations from 50 states representing a wide range of industries to voice strong concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flawed “Clean Power Plan.”

For more than 70 years, New Mexico has exercised exclusive jurisdiction over its retail electricity markets. With the passage of the Federal Power Act in 1935, the Congress codified New Mexico’s—and all States’—prerogative to oversee their retail electricity markets, unencumbered by federal intrusion. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, by its very terms, would erase this “bright line” in jurisdiction between federal and state governments.

In addition to usurping the state’s authority, the rule adds insult to injury by imposing unreasonable costs on New Mexico ratepayers. Residential rates are projected to increase by 13 percent to 14 percent, while industrial rates are projected to increase by 23 percent. Making matters worse, the rule also poses a threat to electric reliability.

In response to previous EPA rules, utilities already have announced the closure of 633 megawatts of coal-fired electricity in New Mexico. EPA modeling for the Carbon Pollution Rule projects that the regulation would cause an additional 1,001 megawatts of electricity generating capacity in New Mexico to retire.

The Rio Grande Foundation’s comments are available online.

Said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation which organized and submitted the comments, “Reliable and inexpensive electricity is critical to creating a prosperous economy. Working class New Mexicans, small businesses, and those on fixed incomes, cannot afford to see electricity prices skyrocket due to unnecessary and ineffectual federal regulations.”

Gessing further noted that it is not just his opinion that the regulations will be ineffective, in September 2013 testimony before a House committee, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy conceded the agency’s climate-change regulatory regime would not affect the climate, because the preponderance of current and future greenhouse-gas emissions originate in Asia.

In conclusion, the EPA is imposing significant costs on New Mexico businesses and rate-payers for no net reduction in current and future greenhouse-gas emissions.

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper – Albuquerque Luncheon Event

Wed, 2014-11-26 14:06
How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong

Albuquerque Luncheon Presentation Click here for event registration form!

Join the Rio Grande Foundation at this Albuquerque luncheon event on December 9th featuring Robert Bryce, author of the book Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.

The book shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things smaller, faster, lighter, denser and cheaper is providing consumers with cheaper and more abundant energy, faster computing, lighter vehicles, and a myriad of other goods.

Robert Bryce will be speaking on the myriad ways in which improved technology applied to traditional energy sources are making our world a better place at dual events in Albuquerque and Farmington, New Mexico, on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

Bryce will be speaking at a luncheon in Albuquerque from noon to 1:00pm at the Marriott Pyramid which is located at I-25 and Paseo del Norte.

Albuquerque luncheon seats are available for $40 per person if purchased before December 1. Tickets purchased on December 1 or after are $50. Call 505-264-6090 to ask about sponsorship or availability of tables of eight.

Robert Bryce has been a professional journalist for nearly three decades. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, National Review, Washington Post, American Conservative, and Counterpunch. His first book, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, received rave reviews and was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2002 by Publishers Weekly.

His second book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America’s Superstate, was published in 2004. His third book, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of “Energy Independence”, published in March 2008, was favorably reviewed by more than 20 media outlets. A review of Gusher by William Grimes of the New York Times said that Bryce “reveals himself in the end as something of a visionary and perhaps even a revolutionary.”

In 2010, Bryce published Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy, and the Real Fuels of the Future. In a review of Power Hungry in the Wall Street Journal, Trevor Butterworth called the book “unsentimental, unsparing, and impassioned; and if you’ll excuse the pun, it is precisely the kind of journalism we need to hold truth to power.”

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong was published on May 13, 2014. The book is an optimistic one. It shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods. That same desire is fostering unprecedented prosperity, greater liberty, and yes, better environmental protection.

A review in the New York Times said that Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is a “book well worth reading.” While the Wall Street Journal called it an “engrossing survey.”

Bryce, who has been writing about the energy business since 1989, spent 12 years writing for the Austin Chronicle. From 2006 to September 2010, he worked as the managing editor of the Houston-based online publication, Energy Tribune. In April 2010, he joined the Manhattan Institute as a senior fellow in the think tank’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment.

Bryce has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows that have aired on variety of outlets including the BBC, MSNBC, Fox Business, CNN, PBS, and NPR.

An apiarist, he lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Lorin, and their three children, Mary, Michael, and Jacob.

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