Reforms, not more money needed to improve education results

Bill Soules misses the mark completely in his article on New Mexico's supposedly inadequate education spending and the supposed fact that education is not a priority. Rather than shedding light on ways to improve New Mexico's educational system, he simply points an accusatory finger at parents and those who he claims aren't making education a "priority."

Is American manufacturing dead?

The conventional wisdom is that U.S. manufacturing is dead. And, while advocates for this point of view offer few solutions to the supposed "problem" aside from the admonition to "Buy American," a hard look at the data shows that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, "reports of the death of U.S. manufacturing are greatly exaggerated."

Climate expert Pat Michaels' presentation now online

Last night, before a nice crowd at the UNM Law School, Cato Institute climate expert Patrick Michaels presented on some of the issues addressed in his new book "Climate Coup: Global Warmings Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives." His powerpoint slides can be found here and video of his talk and the Q&A period can be found below:

Getting a grip on graduation rates: it's no easy task


With the school year having recently been completed, there has been a lot of talk about graduations and graduation rates. According to state data, New Mexico’s rate is 67.3 percent. But, according to the latest “Diplomas Count” study, New Mexico’s graduation rate is only 57.1 percent. According to this same study, APS’s graduation rate is 55.4 percent (49th of 51 states (including the District of Columbia).

According to the State, however, APS graduates kids at a 64.7 percent rate with the various schools in the City charted here. The problem is that, according to the Albuquerque Journal, 12 percent of those students were not actually qualified to receive their diplomas.

Yes, there is some difference in the years being analyzed here, but a majority of the discrepancy has to do with varying methods of calculation. In a free market or even “choice” environment with competing schools, you can bet that we’ve have a firm grasp on these numbers. Until then, finding out the truth about graduation is a real challenge.

Posting of Bernalillo County pay results in needed reforms

Our posting of the Bernalillo County payroll online has resulted in exactly the kind of transparency we hoped for. Commissioner Art De La Cruz is calling for an employee pay study to make sure that the County's pay structure makes sense. The story is available here.

A Right-to-Work Law, Lower Taxes Can Lift Economy

There has been a lot of discussion in New Mexico of ways to jump-start our struggling economy. This is good news.

For too long, we have relied on the federal government to add or save jobs at the air bases or labs as the basis of the economy in our beautiful state. But, out-of-control deficit spending has finally caught up to the political class in Washington, D.C., and money flowing back to the states is drying up fast.

While some worry about this, it is good to see Washington finally starting to wake up to the reality of a fixed budget.

As an advocate for free market entrepreneurship, it is even better to see state policymakers looking for new ways to bring business to New Mexico.

We should want all businesses to aspire to succeed in a free market where the private capital and risk-taking of entrepreneurs creates jobs out of thin air through innovation and without government assistance. An incentives-based approach is rooted in the mechanism of government and politics, and it has proven repeatedly to be wrong headed.

Testifying before the Environmental Improvement Board on haze regulations

The Environmental Improvement Board has voted to adopt the less-stringent, less-costly haze restrictions on the Four Corners power plant. We applaud this move and hope the EPA is willing to accept the state-level regulations. Nonetheless, during the public testimony period on the issue, I made sure to add the Rio Grande Foundation's voice in support of the more reasonable haze reduction measures.

Path to Economic Growth Clear According to New Rio Grande Foundation Study

(Albuquerque) Expensive studies are in the works and much discussion is taking place on the best ways to develop New Mexico’s economy. This is great news to advocates of the free market. For too long, economic development in New Mexico meant waiting for the federal government or the Labs to bring more jobs and money to the area.

Of course, some politicians and economic development “experts” are hoping to promote their own visions of targeted economic incentives, tax giveaways, training programs, and other methods of bringing jobs to New Mexico. At best, these methods are unproven in terms of generating net, long-term growth. Rather, the new plant or business may be “seen,” but the businesses and investments that would have happened absent those taxes is the unseen and untold story.

In an effort to steer the debate towards proven, pro-free-market policies, the Rio Grande Foundation has released its own study, “A Roadmap for a More Economically-Competitive New Mexico” that bases its findings on “tried and true” principles of taxation, spending, and regulation as a path forward for New Mexico’s economy. The study is available at the Foundation’s website.

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