Our Ad on the harm of a statewide hike in the minimum wage

Check out our ad below. Interestingly enough, the front page of the Albuquerque Journal included a story about how University of New Mexico is being forced to come up with as much as $780,000 in additional funding to pay for the increase.

Reform motor coach industry to promote more competition

The Rio Grande Foundation recently completed a report in which it analyzed dozens of state regulations that are holding back our economy and need to be eliminated or reformed. The need for deregulation has never been more apparent with our economy losing jobs and seeing an outflow of workers (according to a recent report from United Van Lines).

Unlike many issues in Santa Fe, deregulation has not historically been a partisan issue. At the federal level, President Jimmy Carter deregulated trucking, freight rail and airlines to positive effect in the 1970s. President Reagan continued those efforts in ways that led to significant economic growth throughout the 1980s.

To further illustrate the point that deregulation can and should be bipartisan, we are pleased to see that Think New Mexico has embraced the concept of deregulation, at least insofar as motor carriers here in New Mexico are concerned.

Rio Grande Foundation Releases “Freedom Index” Legislative Tracking Tool: Are your legislators voting for or against freedom?

(Albuquerque) The Rio Grande Foundation has launched a new legislative tracking tool called “Freedom Index,” which provides a daily review of legislation impacting economic freedom in the state.

For the first time, lawmakers will be able to get an independent, free market view of legislation pending before the Legislature. Moreover, voters can see whether their legislators are voting for free markets or for bigger government. Users will be able to see:

• The relative voting performance of legislators according to the Freedom Index;

• The relative voting performance of each party according to the Freedom Index;

• The analysis criteria behind the legislation ranking will be made publicly-available for download; • Links to legislation detail;

• Links to legislator Information, including contact information;

• And selections of legislation by relevant categories.

The Freedom Index is available here Our analysis will be available before final votes on those bills that are analyzed and can be used by both legislators, legislative staff and interested voters to debate the merits of a bill. In short, the Index provides an excellent analysis of bills that will come before committees or a vote on the floor as well as tracking a legislator’s Freedom Index score.

The public will find our Freedom Index to be a tool to hold elected officials accountable for their vote and to gain a better understanding of the legislation being proposed by the House or Senate members. Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing said of his organization’s new legislative tracking web site, “We are thrilled to add the freedom perspective to the legislative process in Santa Fe. For too long, the special interests have run wild with the voice of taxpayers and those who pay the bills too often pushed to the side.”

KUNM commentary: New Mexico's economy and 70% Medicaid rate for live births

If you haven't already heard, recent media reports have found that 70% of New Mexico births are funded by Medicaid. Some, including former New Mexico Senator Dede Feldman don't seem to think this is a problem.

Needless to say, there are indeed many issues with this high level of welfare dependency in New Mexico. My commentary for KUNM 89.9FM can be heard on the radio starting today and at this link.

Rio Grande Foundation Publishes Publicly-Available City and County Payroll Data Online

(Albuquerque) In an effort to improve government transparency throughout New Mexico, the Rio Grande Foundation has requested and published payroll data for the 35 largest cities throughout New Mexico and all 33 counties in the state.

Some cities including Albuquerque and Rio Rancho post payroll information online. Bernalillo County also posts salary data on its website. However, few city website has a comprehensive listing of payroll data from New Mexico cities and counties. Find city data here and county data here

Said Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing of his organization’s role in releasing the data, “Taxpayers are the ultimate ‘bosses’ of government workers and should have access to this data. Government is the only ‘business’ in which the boss often doesn’t have access to the company payroll.”

Under New Mexico law, employee salary data is already public information, available on request from the county or city government. Now, thanks to legislation passed during the 2011 legislative session, this and other data must be made available in a format preferred by the requestor.  

Unfortunately, being required to comply with a request and actual compliance are not the same thing. All counties complied with our requests, but several cities including Bernalillo, Las Vegas, and Roswell failed to comply.

Responding to the most likely critique of having this information online, Gessing said, “Having salary information online is not a privacy threat. The Rio Grande Foundation has had similar information posted for cities, counties, and institutions of higher education online for years and we have not heard any specific complaints.”

“We at the Rio Grande Foundation believe strongly that transparency and openness are keys to achieving a more limited, fiscally-responsible government. Information on who is hired to do what and how much they are being paid is information that must be available and accessible to the public” said Gessing.

2012 Payroll for New Mexico Cities


City Payroll




















Las Cruces

Las Vegas

Los Lunas

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque




Rio Rancho



Santa Fe


Silver City


Sunland Park


Truth or Consequences

New Poll Highlights Voter Concerns on $146 million UNMH Expansion: Only 15% of voters would make new hospital top priority

(Albuquerque) The Rio Grande Foundation, using Utah-based polling company, NSON, polled 400 registered voters residing in Bernalillo County over three nights from January 8-10 on the proposed $146 million expansion of University of New Mexico Hospital. Poll results available here.

The polling found both widespread concerns about the proposed UNMH expansion and questions regarding such a large investment being made in this particular project without the direct approval of voters or elected officials.

• 54.2 percent of participants stated that “Funds should be reserved for the poor/ uninsured to only 29.7 percent who wanted their money spent on a $146 million hospital;

• 61.5 percent stated that they preferred to wait to see how the shape of health care might change once “ObamaCare” takes full effect. Only 24.7 percent wanted the hospital to be built right away. 7.3 percent completely opposed building the hospital;

• 71.6 percent expressed a desire to have the Bernalillo County Commission specifically approve and oversee the UNMH expansion as opposed to just 17.5 percent who felt that such approval and oversight were unnecessary;

• 46.1 percent of respondents, when informed of the $90 million that Bernalillo County taxpayers currently spend on UNMH, expressed a desire for a system of outpatient clinics throughout the County. 16.6 percent urged the construction of a new psychiatric hospital and more behavioral services. Only 15.3 percent urged expansion of UNM Hospital;

• A bare majority, 46.3 percent, stated that their “taxes for health care and the $90 million spent on UNMH annually” were “about right,” while 42.9 percent stated that their tax burden for UNMH was “more than they could afford.”

Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation said, “It is clear that the groups pushing for expansion of UNMH have not made their case to the citizens of Bernalillo County, the people who pay the bills for the hospital and its prospective expansion. Rather than trying to ram this project through yet another unelected body, we urge proponents of this hospital expansion to make the case to County citizens and their elected representatives. This project has very little support at this time. The voters of Bernalillo County have other health care priorities.”

The margin of error of this poll is +/- 4.9 percent.

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