Quit raiding permanent fund
THE LATEST attempt to “tap” into the corpus of the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent Fund should be soundly rejected by our elected officials and if not, by New Mexico’s voters themselves.
For about 60 years now, politicians have attempted to raid the permanent fund for every crisis and perceived need imaginable, and fortunately for our children and grandchildren, these attempts have mostly failed.
My father, as a New Mexico representative in the late 1950s, considered the development of our permanent funds to be one of the crowning achievements by our Legislature, and I agree completely. Taking a part of the revenues from extractive and depleting resources and building an investment base (corpus) into a permanent fund allows the investment income to support New Mexico education and other needs forever.
The Southern Ute Tribe followed this example with their oil and gas assets and revenues and nearly 20 years ago I took tribal leaders to visit and learn from this example. Soon thereafter, a tribal Permanent Fund was established in New Mexico.
While working for Gov. Gary Johnson and even before, the Legislature “turned down the spigot” of revenues flowing into the permanent fund. Currently, New Mexico has adequate revenues and reserves and a budgetary process to allocate general funds and other funds to meet the recurring needs and if additional funds are needed for education or early childhood education, then that is our Legislature’s job to budget based upon needs.
With our current reserves, the Legislature can use other means of funding rather than “raiding” our permanent fund, and it is a disservice to not only our children and grandchildren, but to theirs also!
KEVIN NOYA GARCIA