There is generally much less accountability when private companies run government programs. It becomes not only more difficult to determine just how our tax dollars are being spent, but there is also more room for subtle forms of discrimination to take place. By definition privatization means an economic focus on the use of public lands rather than a conservation and equity focus.
In reaction to the revenue shortfall that was created in large part by bad tax policy decisions, some lawmakers are looking to enact more bad policy. But sweeping up money from these special funds will endanger more than just common sense.
State government has a very important job to do. It ensures that all children receive an education that will prepare them to be productive adults. It works to keep our streets safe and our infrastructure in good repair. It must respond to public health threats and keep an eye to future needs. When state government does its job well, it enables and strengthens the state’s economic growth and helps its people thrive.
It's always gratifying when we can link a good outcome directly to a specific public policy--as we can in this case. We can also often predict a poor outcome when a bad decision is made. If we're smart, we'll use that knowledge to make better decisions. In this case, however, some lawmakers insisted on making a bad decision anyway.
Because poverty has multiple causes and tends to be generational, we must address it by meeting the needs of the family as a whole. This is called a two-generation approach, and it does more than ensure that children are fed and safe. It also gives parents the tools they need to better their own situations—whether that means access to job training and further education or health care to deal with substance abuse problems or chronic illness.
Low gas prices may make us happy at the pump, but the flip side--what it means to the state budget--will cost some of us dearly in lost services.
There are only a couple of realistic choices when the state is short on cash: provide fewer services by cutting spending or raise more revenue by increasing taxes.
In his January 14 column, Winthrop Quigley called Medicaid an essential part of a social safety net but took issue with the notion that the federal funding is good for the state’s economy. He claimed that Medicaid cannot help people out of poverty. I disagree on both counts.
When legislators reconvene in January they will likely consider enacting a tax on food. But research shows that such a move could harm already-vulnerable New Mexicans.
New Mexico families benefit from numerous parks around the state that boast a collection of landscapes that are as diverse as they are beautiful. Many of these parks were made possible, in full or in part, by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). That fund is in danger, however, as it is set to expire if Congress takes no action by September 30.