Errors of Enchantment Blog Postings

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Why is New Mexico not realizing its potential?
Updated: 36 min 56 sec ago

Who is “price gouging” at the pump now?

Wed, 2015-01-14 09:13

It was only a few short years ago when the economically-misguided (both Republican and Democrat) were engaged in a witch hunt against the issue of “price gouging” at the gas pump. See my comments about then Rep. Heather Wilson. Wilson was by no means the only one. President Obama called an investigation and pundit Bill O’Reilly mocked him for not being tough enough.

Of course, these days no one is talking about “price gouging” at the pump because prices are dropping like a rock. OPEC which has, in the past, been able to reduce supply somewhat in order to drive up prices, has lost its power due to market forces (the US fracking boom).

And, of course, remember Democrats mocking Sarah Palin for saying “Drill Baby Drill?” Thanks not to government policies, but to market forces and new technology, that’s exactly what has been in recent years. The result, dramatically-lower gas prices (despite federal policies). Ingenuity and market forces are amazing. Government regulations and cartel pricing conspiracies, not so much.

Should NM taxpayers embrace $50 million closing fund?

Tue, 2015-01-13 14:34

According to recent news reports including this one from the New Mexico Watchdog, there is broad, bi-partisan support for an expanded $50 million “closing fund” for New Mexico to attract businesses.

Interestingly, the fact that New Mexico’s economy will be among those most harmed by falling gasoline prices is being used by advocates to justify “diversifying” New Mexico’s economy through the use of gas taxes (nearly 1/3rd of which were generated by oil and gas in the first place). Obviously, falling revenues mean that there is less revenue left to be spent on New Mexico’s fast-growing Medicaid program or on an expanded “closing fund.”

As I make clear in the Watchdog piece, we at RGF are free market first and pro-business second. We’re not fans of spending money to bring businesses here. We’d rather do the basics like adopt a “right to work” law and reform regulatory and tax policies in order to attract businesses. Taxing productive citizens and businesses in order to transfer that to attract new businesses is a losing proposition.

Interestingly enough, for Republicans in particular the $50 million closing ideas is fraught with political peril. Liberal Democrats who support the idea could easily cite support for the idea in the future and say that they worked on a bi-partisan basis to grow New Mexico’s economy. Unfortunately, a Republican embrace of the idea absent broader economic reforms will saddle the GOP with responsibility for the economy and free liberals from the “obstructionist” label.

What do site selection professionals really say about “right to work?”

Mon, 2015-01-12 16:26

There has been some controversy over whether site selectors — the professionals who help businesses locate facilities — and their clients value “right too work” laws as a business location benefit.

Back in July as New Mexico was in the running for the Tesla “gigafactory,” one site selection manager spoke out strongly in favor of “right to work” as an economic development tool. John Boyd, the principal at his namesake site selection firm said of New Mexico’s chances to lure Tesla “manufacturing companies look for reasons to scratch off states when considering where to build major facilities — and no right to work law is at the top of the list.”

Boyd continued saying, “I can’t underscore how critical right to work status is.” In conclusion, Boyd again reiterated the dire need for a right to work law in New Mexico saying, “New Mexico has enormous potential to become a manufacturing hub, especially if it were to adopt right to work legislation.”

More recently, Dan Mayfield of the Albuquerque Biz First talked to some other site selectors who called “right to work” “old thinking” and “steadily less important as a factor for companies to the point that it hasn’t come up in 10 years.”

What’s the reality? When Michigan went “right to work” in 2013, Site Selection Magazine interviewed several site selection experts on the issue. The following comments, all from professional site selectors relating to a real-world law passing seem to indicate strong support for “right to work” laws among site selectors:

“We believe there will be an enormous impact, especially for medium-tier companies who are poised to grow,” says Jason Hickey, principal of Hickey & Associates in Washington, D.C.

Tracey Hyatt Bosman of BLS & Company in Chicago calls Michigan’s sudden change “a dramatic demonstration of the state’s commitment to the transformation of their business environment. It also will shine a big spotlight on all of the other work they have been doing, including overhauling their corporate tax structure, simplifying regulatory processes and bringing innovative approaches to economic development.”

Bosman echoes other site consultants when she adds, “Some companies simply insist on locating in a right-to-work state. Michigan’s new legislation removes a roadblock and will bring the state’s extremely skilled work force into consideration for more projects.”

It was hard to find anyone in the site selection profession who saw a downside to Michigan’s swift reversal of decades of labor law.

“Where it will have an effect is when there are companies who are looking for locations, Michigan will no longer be eliminated because they are not a right-to-work state,” says Brent Pollina of Pollina Corporate Real Estate in Chicago. “As a result, there should be a significant increase in the number of projects that Michigan receives because they are no longer being eliminated at the early stages of searches.”

The change also sends a strong signal to business and industry, adds Pollina.

The Albuquerque-area business community pitches Right to Work

Wed, 2015-01-07 21:08

Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry spoke at a January 7, 2015 press conference in support of “right to work.” Pardon the poor camera work and the loud passing fire truck! I believe it is very important and powerful that supporters of “right to work” have such a great ally in the Mayor of New Mexico’s largest city.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry speaks on “right to work’s” importance for New Mexico from Paul Gessing on Vimeo.

Do businesses look at Right to Work to base manufacturing operations? Of course. Boeing had a highly-publicized fight with the Obama Administration over the company’s desire to build a manufacturing plant in Right to Work South Carolina. Check out this interactive map of the airplane make Airbus’s US operations. Out of nine US facilities, their only non-RTW operation is their Washington, DC office. Brazilian jet manufacturer Embraer’s first US manufacturing facility is in “right to work” Florida.

And then there is automobile manufacturing. As seen in the chart below and as noted in Wards Auto, (even before Michigan went “right to work,” more and more of automobile manufacturing is happening in “right to “work states:

This goes hand in hand with the automakers’ growth in non-union manufacturing:

Paying their share

Tue, 2015-01-06 14:46

It is often mis-stated that the “rich” don’t pay their share. When it comes to federal income taxes, as the Tax Foundation’s new chart points out, they most definitely do pay their share (and more).

There is always the rejoinder that other taxes are not so progressive and that payroll taxes are “regressive.” This is true and is yet another reason to reform those broken and heavily-indebted programs from the ground up.

Encourage PRC Commissioners to support for PNM plan

Tue, 2015-01-06 11:55

If you haven’t seen the news reports, the radical anti-modern-society types were out in force yesterday in Santa Fe (it is their home-base after all) protesting against PNM’s proposal to actually keep using coal to generate electricity (read Carla Sonntag’s Albuquerque Journal piece on the issue).

While the PNM plan is not perfect, the radical anti-energy crowd would love nothing more than to completely kill New Mexico’s economy. In other words, like most political compromises, PNM’s plan is better than the alternative. I have submitted comments to the PRC via the following email address: svincent.martinez@state.nm.us

Dear PRC Commissioners,

As a ratepayer and constituent, I encourage all NM Public Regulation Commissioners to SUPPORT the PNM plan submitted under Case #13-00390-UT.

The plan is not perfect. Unfortunately, it requires PNM to shut down two perfectly good coal-fired units at San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) and retrofit the remaining two units with expensive equipment meant to improve visibility in the Four Corners region.

However, opponents of the PNM plan who are advocating a complete shutdown of the SJGS are out of touch with reality and the need for affordable, reliable electricity in our state.

In conclusion, I hope you support the imperfect PNM plan over the economically-devastating alternatives.

NM on list of top-10 outbound states…again

Mon, 2015-01-05 14:31

The newest edition of the United Van Lines report on the leading outbound and inbound states is out and the news is bad (again) for New Mexico which finds itself among the top-10 “outbound” states for the third year in a row. Check out reports from 2013 and 2012.

See this year’s map below:

Based on historical trends and weather, New Mexico should pretty consistently be on the “inbound” side of things, but public policies seem to push it into the negative time and again.

Interestingly enough, there is a strong correlation in terms of the “right to work” issue: 8 of the 10 leading outbound states are DO NOT have a “right to work” law on the books; and 7 of the 9 leading inbound states are RTW (Washington, DC is listed in the top-10 inbound “states,” but isn’t a state) and given its small size and unique economy, it shouldn’t be considered.

The top inbound states of 2014 were:

Oregon
South Carolina (RTW)
North Carolina (RTW)
Vermont
Florida (RTW)
Nevada (RTW)
Texas (RTW)
Oklahoma (RTW)
Idaho (RTW)

The top outbound states for 2014 were:

New Jersey
New York
Illinois
North Dakota (RTW)
West Virginia
Ohio
Kansas (RTW)
New Mexico
Pennsylvania
Connecticut

Let the anti-“right to work” disinformation campaign begin!

Mon, 2015-01-05 11:54

I had a relatively relaxing Holiday season and made sure to enjoy it because I know it is going to be an exciting and intense legislative session. The issue of “right to work” and whether New Mexico should become such a state continues to receive attention, specifically in the Albuquerque Journal where two articles appeared.

The first was an opinion piece by an English professor at CNM. The author repeats the myth that “unions must represent all unit members whether or not they pay dues.” This is demonstrably false. Unions are under no obligation to represent anyone, but it is a useful myth to repeat.

The author also makes the spurious claim that “right to work” laws increase inequality. There is simply no evidence for this statement (and the author rightly fudges the statement without citing any data to back her argument up). Here is a list of states by gini coefficient which measures inequality. There is simply no discernable pattern when it comes to “right to work” and inequality as many of the least unequal (most equal) states have “right to work” and vice-versa.

And then there is Thom Cole’s article from the front page of today’s Albuquerque Journal. Cole seized on my statement that “right to work” would impact unions’ bottom lines. This is an obvious truism as unions and their allies directly benefit from the forced-deduction of union dues which, in many cases are then donated to Democratic Party candidates.

The balance of the article is a platform for Jon Hendry of the AFL-CIO to share all the great things unions supposedly have done for New Mexico workers. Omitted is how union-supported left-wing economic policies are killing New Mexico’s economy and forcing more of our citizens to look for work in “right to work” states like Texas.

Some facts on electricity in NM

Wed, 2014-12-31 14:18

With all of the controversy over PNM’s proposed rate hike, it is important to have a few facts. For starters, regardless of any other policy proposal at the federal or state levels, New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard is expected to cost utility rate-payers $619 annually by the time it is phased in, in 2020.

According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA), New Mexico’s commercial and residential customers already pay relatively high rates for their electricity. No bordering state has higher commercial or residential rates than New Mexico. Not surprisingly, New Mexico also has one of the most ambitious RPS’s among its neighbors (it will be interesting to see how rates in Colorado climb to comply with their 30% requirement).

Lastly, as the chart below (also from EIA) shows, New Mexico has seen some rather steep price increases in the past year alone with residential and commercial rates jumping by nearly 10% in a single year.

It is hard to say whether PNM should get all or part of its requested rate hike, but it is clear that government mandates are having a big impact on electricity prices in our state.

Senate leader’s record bodes ill for economic growth

Mon, 2014-12-29 09:14


New Mexico’s Senate majority leader – arguably the most powerful elected Democrat in the State – recently laid out some of his views on the upcoming legislative session. He claimed to support “compromise,” but it is clear that what he really means is that he has no plans to support reforms that will boost New Mexico’s struggling private- sector economy.

Sen. Michael Sanchez’s intransigence is not surprising given that he and his allies have controlled New Mexico’s Legislature for many decades and (likely see the new House Republican majority) as a temporary loosening of control as opposed to a decisive break. That big-government ideology, by the way, has driven New Mexico to the bottom of most good lists and the top of most bad ones.

Sanchez, despite his rhetoric of compromise, has stated firmly that he opposes “right to work.” On the other hand, he supports a new $50 million “closing fund” designed to bring new businesses to our state.

His positions are not surprising for two reasons. Despite both policies ostensibly being “pro-business,” right to work will cost zero tax dollars, reduce the fundraising power of a key special interest group, and has reams of studies showing its effectiveness.

The closing fund, on the other hand, removes $50 million from New Mexico’s productive economy (taxpayers) and delivers it to politicians who have very poor track records of picking winners and losers (See Eclipse Aviation, Spaceport America and Schott Solar for a few examples). Worse, there is nothing more than anecdotal data showing closing funds have a positive economic impact. There are always new businesses that benefit from subsidies, but the negative impact on existing businesses and taxpayers is ignored.

In other words, Sanchez is perfectly comfortable with boosting the closing fund because it fits his ideological bias toward bigger government. It is also the way New Mexico has always “done business.” Of course, that has led us to our current, impoverished status.

I fully expect that Sanchez will play the role of obstructionist, not compromiser, for the foreseeable future. I hope I am wrong. Right to work is one of many important issues that should be given a fair hearing in the Senate regardless of Sanchez’s personal views.

There are literally dozens of solid, free market issues from tax credits for school choice to the elimination of worker’s compensation benefits for employees that show up to a job site drunk or high that also deserve a fair hearing. I am confident all of these will gain greater traction in Santa Fe than in past years.

In other words, Sanchez will have ample opportunity to show his true colors, and we plan to shine a spotlight on his behavior for better or worse.

The newly-ascendant House Republican leadership is not completely reliant on the Senate, however. It can increase transparency and good-government by video recording committee hearings and archiving the footage online. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 39 states already record and archive committee hearings.

Another idea whose time has come is to accept remote testimony. It is no secret that New Mexico is a large, sparsely-populated state which makes getting to Santa Fe to participate in the political process a special challenge.

Allowing concerned New Mexicans from far away corners of the state like Farmington, Hobbs, Clayton and Las Cruces to testify from a central location like their local community college via nothing more complicated than a Skype connection would seem like a no-brainer. It could also boost interest in government and save the environment at the same time!

We have high hopes for reform in 2015. With stagnant federal spending and rapidly-declining prices in the oil patch, New Mexico needs a strong private sector more than ever. It is time our representatives in Santa Fe, Michael Sanchez included, embrace reform.

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.

“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 www.770kkob.com.

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 Healthcare.gov 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.