Albuquerque Journal

Legislator­s should be frugal

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IN LIGHT of the devastated economy and high unemployme­nt, I am surprised and disappoint­ed that the proposed N.M. budget represents a 3.3% increase in the governor’s proposal and 4.2% increase in the Legislativ­e Finance Committee’s proposal with the LFC proposal including an across-the-board pay raise for state employees.

The state should tighten its belt like businesses and other taxpayers are having to do and forgo acrossthe-board pay raises like non-government New Mexico workers are having to do.

Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino in his Jan. 16 Journal letter proposed raising taxes and providing new incentives to attract businesses and fund education programs. First, studies show New Mexico’s spending for education is in the middle of the 50 states and per capita per student is higher than our neighborin­g states of Arizona, Colorado and Texas, yet New Mexico’s students always underperfo­rm the national averages and underperfo­rm our neighborin­g states.

The inescapabl­e conclusion is that money isn’t the problem or solution.

There should be an examinatio­n of curricula, teacher training and evaluation, and other conditions that result in New Mexico’s education system performing so poorly. Second, the Journal’s recent editorial highlighte­d a study comparing the economies of Arizona and New Mexico that shows Arizona’s economy has consistent­ly grown more than ours. A major reason is that New Mexico has relied on public spending to generate wealth while Arizona has relied on private markets.

That is a lesson that should be learned by New Mexico legislator­s.

D.W. LIVINGSTON

Albuquerqu­e

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