According to a bi-partisan group of New Mexico legislators, and as reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican, Martinez’s claims about the budget and her much-touted school book program don’t hold up to scrutiny.
From the article:
Gov. Susana Martinez’s advertisement tying together the state budget, a jet and schoolbooks begins with an inaccurate claim.
“When I took office, we had the largest deficit in history,” says Martinez, a Republican who is seeking re-election this year, in a television ad that began airing this month.
Not so. State senators of both parties say New Mexico had no budget deficit, something that has been true through its 102 years of statehood.
When Martinez’s term began, legislators proposed a budget with various cuts to make sure there would be no deficit when the next fiscal year began in July 2011. Martinez’s own budget proposal ended up being similar to the spending plan submitted to her by legislators.
“If you really go back and look at her first term, she took the LFC [Legislative Finance Committee] budget virtually verbatim,” said Sen. John Arthur Smith, a conservative Democrat from Deming, who has a friendly working relationship with Martinez.
This isn’t the first time Martinez has tried to beef up her fiscal conservative credentials by claiming she fixed New Mexico’s budget deficit after arriving in office. But it’s also not the first time she’s been called on her bluff.
Late last year, State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino penned a scathing opinion piece — “Four Lies, One Sentence” –dismantling the Governor’s highly-polished (but ultimately untrue) budget message. In systematic detail, Senator Ortiz y Pino revealed just how much spin was involved in one of Martinez’s most common stump-speech lines (“I balanced the state budget without raising taxes or cutting services, and I did so while we were in the deepest economic recession in recent memory.”).
Read the full piece HERE but check out some of the highlights that are eerily similar to the false claims Martinez continues to make in her high-dollar TV ads:
“I balanced the state budget … ”
It is not a technical quibble to note that in our system in New Mexico, it is the Legislature which creates the annual state budget, not the governor…The actual state budget is hammered together through a painful 6-month-long process by the Legislative Finance Committee…
Patently her efforts amount to little more than a tweaking of those prepared by the LFC, not a thoughtful measure reflecting well-planned initiatives.
So it has been, as it has always been in our history (indeed, as it is required to be by our state Constitution) a balanced budget that gets enacted annually. But it has been balanced each year by the Legislature, not by the governor…
f there has been an administration less-involved in the budgeting process, I can’t remember it.
“ … without raising taxes … ”
With this statement, Martinez ignores the fact that the Legislature pushed her predecessor into signing a major tax revenue bill in 2010, the year she was campaigning. The positive impact of that measure was felt in the state’s treasury in 2011, her first year in office.
“ … or cutting services … ”
Even with the added tax money, our 2011 and 2012 budgets reflected many serious cuts in services: lowered reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers; caps on day care slots; miniscule [sic] raises for public employees, who were asked to simultaneously pick up part of the state’s share of their retirement benefit; higher education cuts so deep and so numerous she dare not repeat her catch phrase on any campus in New Mexico for fear of being laughed off the stage; public education budget reductions which have led to larger class sizes, heavier teaching loads and fewer support services available, and on and on and on.
The corporate-funded machine that is Susana Martinez’s administration is great at producing slick ads and thoroughly focused-grouped sound bites. It’s clear, however, that the facts take a back-seat during all of her political pomp and circumstance — much to the detriment of all New Mexicans.