Governor Martinez used her veto pen today to kill more than 150 already paid-for public projects across the state. That’s a big headline on it’s own; but it’s even more relevant when we compare a few of the things she did, and didn’t, veto from the state budget.
For the third time in four years, Governor Martinez vetoed critical state funding for the only detox and homeless shelter in the Gallup region.
25 people have died from alcohol-related exposure deaths there over the past two winters, KOB TV recently reported.
Senators Udall and Heinrich stepped up to help find federal funding to fill the gap left by the governor’s veto last year.
This year’s funding would have provided shelter and detox services into next winter, but this veto leaves funding uncertain for the many alcohol-dependent and homeless New Mexicans in the area where alcoholism and homelessness exceed the state and national average by several times. A Democratic state legislator has inserted the appropriation, in different forms, for the past four years.
Compare that to the $1,000,000 Governor Martinez OK’d for building new shooting ranges around the state.
There’s nothing wrong with encouraging responsible gun use, but compared with the opportunity to fund FIVE homeless and detox programs over building a gun range, we’re pretty sure this isn’t the choice most New Mexicans would have made. Then again, most New Mexicans don’t have NRA lobbyists funding the campaigns of our friends.
Why did she do that?
Keep in mind that all of these projects are funded by revenue already accounted for in the next fiscal year. Lawmakers already cut millions in program and capital expenditures from the budget when oil and gas prices fell last year. Vetoes don’t balance the budget, they are just the governor’s way of saying NO to projects (or legislators) she doesn’t like.
In her veto statement, Governor Martinez criticized state lawmakers for funding “projects that often do not create jobs or develop the economy instead of pooling resources to make long-lasting, impactful improvements throughout the state.”
More like, “Let them freeze, unless they own a gun,” if you ask us.