Slashing public services not budget remedy
Stephanie Maez-Gibson, communications director for the Center for Civic Policy, responds to an article in Wednesday’s PNT:
In a recent piece Paul Gessing gets it wrong when he states that New Mexico public services can continue to be slashed.
Our teachers are already forced to purchase their own school supplies, while simultaneously watching as their classrooms go from 17 students to in some cases more than 30 students. No cuts to classrooms? I agree. Well then let’s look at other funding cuts…
Take our state’s child protective services, which is also at risk. Several months ago we heard of the tragic case where state officials found malnourished and abused children in an Albuquerque home. Fortunately, these children were removed from the home. But, how can we expect our public servants to fully investigate these cases, aid in the prosecution of abusers, and ultimately protect vulnerable New Mexico children if they do not have the resources to do so?
Critical first response services provided by our fire departments, local and state police are also on the chopping block. These hard working public employees serve our needs for little compensation, reward and recognition. By cutting their pay, requesting they take mandatory unpaid leave and/or laying them off, what message are we sending? That message is clear — that they are not valued. And, that is completely unacceptable.
These are just a few examples of necessary community services at risk. Clearly one can see that it would be detrimental to all New Mexicans if we cut any further. There are other alternatives. We need to take a balanced approach to addressing our current revenue crisis, one that levels the playing field for all New Mexicans and ensures strict accountability in our tax code.