Is New Mexico in a "death spiral" or not?

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.

Marcos Portillo
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Policy Analyst
Rio Grande Foundation