Thursday, July 22, 2010

Those nasty details are still missing

I posted this earlier in the month at New Mexico FBIHOP.

Yesterday Barb over at DFNM wrote about both candidate’s responses to the latest Legislative Finance Committee (LFC). LFC now predicts a $200 million shortfall for the budget year that started July 1.

Diane Denish referred to her earlier detailed government reform plan which would save an estimated $450 million over 5 years. Susana Martinez has yet to come forth with any specifics.

New Mexicans deserve specifics from their candidates

The campaign of gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez released her plan for jobs and economic recovery today. The plan is titled “Eliminating Waste."
As I wrote in an earlier piece, she is following the national GOP strategy of trying to make the election a referendum on the Bill Richardson administration, while providing very little in the form of new or detailed ideas.
The introduction to her plan reads:
“The Richardson-Denish Administration has grown state government over 50% during their time in office. There are now 24.5 state employees for every 1,000 New Mexicans, which far exceeds the national average of 14.3 per 1,000. What we are left with is a bloated, inefficient government staffed by political appointees interested in securing personal advantage. To grow our economy, we must reign in wasteful spending, streamline state government and reform the way we do business in New Mexico and protect taxpayers.”

The statement is correct in identifying New Mexico as having a higher number of state employees per capita than many others, but somewhat disingenuous in comparing it to the national average rather than using other similarly rural and low population states as comparison.

The specifics of the plan are unfortunately very generic.

Reduce Or Eliminate Many Exempt Positions In State Government.
Greater reliance on merit, qualification and experience as factors in the hiring of state government positions.
Create An On-Line Check Book.
To ensure voters can access state spending records in real-time and easily search the database, we must create a real-time, on-line and searchable checkbook that empowers New Mexicans to see how their tax dollars are being spent.

Reform The Capital Outlay Program To Ensure Greater Planning, Efficiency, Coordination And Prioritization.
Today’s capital outlay program is plagued by waste and inefficiency, used to further expand government and reward political insiders.

NOTE: If Directed By Better Priorities, The Capital Outlay Program Can Grow Our Economy And Create Jobs. During times of economic stress, capital outlay money can be utilized to create economic activity and jobs.
We need to set better priorities at the executive level to direct the use of the people’s money. ”

Re-evaluating and eliminating some exempt positions is also part of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish’s plan to reduce state government spending.

The difference between Martinez’s “Online Check Book” and the "Sunshine Portal Transparency Act" passed by the legislature and signed into law by Denish earlier this year is not given.

How she would reform the Capital Outlay program is again anyone’s guess, Denish outlined her proposal back in March.

The Martinez campaign tries to exploit the anti-incumbency fervor of mid-term elections, without providing details on what the “bold change” would look like. Bumper sticker slogans without much substance are all New Mexicans have seen so far from Susana Martinez.

In contrast Denish provided an economic plan in late March that would save state government $450 million over the next five years, that outlined specific steps and estimated savings, and continues to release detailed proposals to address the many problems of concern to New Mexicans.

A call left with staff at Martinez’s Albuquerque campaign HQ this morning, contrary to assurances that it would be returned shortly has not yet been returned.

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