Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas, offers his view on the state budget:
New Mexico's economy is improving, a little, and the result is that the state budget is growing, a little, for the first time in years. But this is not the time to go on a big spending spree.
Our economic recovery is still fragile. We still have 46,000 fewer jobs in New Mexico than we had in February 2008, before the economy soured. We've gained back 7,000 of the 53,000 jobs we've lost since our peak. Consumer sales appear strong, but probably because people are dipping into their savings to buy more, and not because they've gotten pay raises. And the price of natural gas, which fuels our state budget, is down from last year and at its lowest level since 2002.
So while the outlook is not as gloomy as it was, this is not the time to spend freely. It is the time to invest in education, infrastructure and local job growth and business expansion programs. Putting New Mexicans back to work is the best thing we can do to make lasting improvements to our economy.
Now that the economy is showing some signs of improvement, we can begin to restore those cuts and invest in long-term solutions. A multipoint plan is worth considering.
First, we can, and should, approve a multimillion-dollar public works package that will not only put New Mexicans back to work quickly but also help build our state's lasting infrastructure.
Second, we should approve targeted tax incentives to businesses that are willing to hire more New Mexicans, expand their businesses and invest in new equipment.
Third, our public education system must be strengthened so that expanding businesses continue to have a talented, skilled a
By setting aside politics, the legislature and the governor can work together to meet the needs of the poor, improve education, assist small businesses and offer a hand to the most vulnerable and the elderly