Funding increase too much to ask from constituents
January 30, 2019
On Jan. 17, with just over two weeks on the job, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she needed around $1.2 million more from taxpayers to run her office.
Specifically, to enable her to formulate and implement her “bold, aggressive agenda.”
Granted, the funding increase — from about $3.3 million to roughly $4.5 million — is still below that of Gov. Bill Richardson’s $4.7 million office costs. And it’s only .063 percent of the proposed $7.1 billion state budget. And our governor has an ambitious to-do list aimed at boosting the state from the bottom of the bad lists.
But unfortunately, the “bold, aggressive agenda” for too many New Mexicans is to simply survive, and maybe save a little for retirement.
New Mexico’s median family income in 2016 was $48,451 — the fifth-lowest in the nation, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
And now there are proposals asking these New Mexicans to pay higher taxes, including on income and gasoline. That’s a harder sell when they hear the governor’s office wants a 38.3 percent increase.
The day the Albuquerque Journal published a story about the request, one reader posted “How about living within her budget for year one and then assessing, and justifying, her needs before the 2020 legislative session? How can she really know what she needs after 18 days in office?”
This reader has a point.
How about proposing a single-digit raise, then reassess next year?
It’s not about the dollars as much as it is about the message being sent to the hard-working constituents who ultimately pay the bill and are now facing tax increases.
— Albuquerque Journal