In the days prior to the 2013 legislative session I visited Fred Martino at KRWG TV in Las Cruces to discuss the legislative session. We taped two segments of the program that recently aired and our now available online. See the segments below:
Come celebrate "School Choice Week" in Albuquerque on January 26, 2013!
School Choice Week is right around the corner. This year's celebration includes a special cross-country "whistle stop" train tour with stops in 14 cities from coast-to-coast, including Albuquerque. Our celebration takes place on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town. More information is available on the Rio Grande Foundation's website. Please come out to support school choice in New Mexico!
School choice is working here in New Mexico. Only 10 percent of New Mexico's public schools are charters, yet charters made up 25 percent of the top 40 public schools that received an "A" grade under our new school grading system. In fact, four of the top 10 schools are charters.
Compare this with New Mexico's overall education system, which is ranked 46th out of 47 by the US Department of Education. Just 63 percent of New Mexico students in the 2010-2011 school year finished secondary school. It is no secret our state's education system is in need of significant improvements and reform. School choice can and should be a major part of these reforms.
See what the legislature is doing relative to education:
I discuss the likely path of the 2013 legislative session and what that means for New Mexico's struggling education system and economy. Click the interview link here.
Recently, we at RGF made a pretty big deal out of a Forbes report that called New Mexico the number one "death spiral" state in the nation. Albuquerque Journal economy reporter Winthrop Quigley took issue with the report and argued that New Mexico, while it has some problems, is not in a "death spiral."
Rio Grande Foundation policy analyst Marcos Portillo wrote the following response to Quigley which appeared in Monday's Albuquerque Journal.
Mr. Quigley may believe that Forbes’ “death spiral” claim is unwarranted, but the fact is that New Mexico’s economy is among the worst in the nation.
Quigley’s assumption is that New Mexico will continue getting infused with federal dollars into the foreseeable future. Federal funds currently make up nearly $6 billion of the $15 billion in total state expenditures. New Mexico also has one of the highest concentrations of federal employees (of about 33,000) in its various military bases and laboratories.
When the federal government tightens its belt, our economic problems could worsen.
Currently, New Mexico is: Ranked dead last in economic freedom by the recent Fraser Institute report;
Has a poverty rate that is highest in the nation;
Has an education system ranked 46th of 47 by the US Department of Education;
Has a Human Services Department website proclaiming that it is “serving one in three” even prior to the massive government expansion under ObamaCare.
Has a judicial climate ranked 44th of 50 by the US Chamber of Commerce;
And, while most states experienced some economic growth over the past year, New Mexico lost more jobs than any state but coal-dependent West Virginia.
There’s great potential in NM and many good things about the state and its people. Unfortunately, its current economic structure is dependent on the whims of bureaucrats 3,000 miles away and public policies are holding us and our citizens back.
Additional contact information
Rio Grande Foundation
Regardless of the makeup of the Legislature and no matter who inhabits the Governors’ mansion, New Mexico is in dire need of reform. That is the clear and unambiguous conclusion that can be derived from just a few recent news stories this week.
First, Forbes put the Land of Enchantment at the top of its list of “Death Spiral States. ” Said Forbes:
Don’t buy a house in a state where private sector workers are outnumbered by folks dependent on government.
Thinking about buying a house? Or a municipal bond? Be careful where you put your capital.
Don’t put it in a state at high risk of a fiscal tailspin.
Telling its readers not to buy a house in New Mexico is not exactly reassuring for current homeowners in our state.
Second, according to a new report from the US Department of Education, New Mexico’s educational system is 46th out of the 47 systems studied. Just 63 percent of New Mexico students in the 2010-2011 school year finished secondary school.
Lastly, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, a free market think tank based in Canada, New Mexico is the least economically-free state in the United States and is freer than only the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
With NM being ranked the least economically free state in the entire union (and most of Canada) it is no wonder we will continue to see a further hemorrhaging of jobs as businesses and employers will invariably seek to set up shop in any other state with a more business friendly environment.
Said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, “New Mexicans are used to their state being ranked poorly in these national rankings, but they cannot feel good about these results and the fact that our state has been hemorrhaging jobs while other states grow. Our state needs a healthy dose of free market policies and educational choice during the upcoming 60-day legislative session.”
No organization has been as active in studying these problems and putting forth solutions. Contact the Rio Grande Foundation at 505-264-6090 for interviews.