As the House and Senate in the New Mexico Legislature were recently hard at work fixing the state’s budget crisis and protecting critical state services like education, health care, and public safety, Gov. Martinez spent much of her time lobbing baseless criticisms while skiing with well-connected donors in Utah, coming under fire for a pay-to-play scandal, and vetoing important legislation without any reason whatsoever.
Now, with less than 2 days left for her to sign about 200 remaining bills on her desk, Gov. Martinez is again coming under fire for her irresponsible actions and strict attention to ideology over the best interests of New Mexicans.
HARMING THE ECONOMY
While the people of New Mexico wait to see if she will make good on her reckless threats of vetoing a responsible budget, shutting down state government, and beginning unnecessary state government employee furloughs – actions that would jeopardize the state’s credit rating and take money out of hardworking people’s pockets – Gov. Martinez spent part of her week in Tennessee with 200 legislative bills left untouched.
Today, Democrats blasted Gov. Martinez and Lt. Gov. Sanchez for their out-of-touch behavior:
“Governor Martinez clearly does not respect our state — instead of doing her job, the Governor leaves the state in the hands of Lieutenant Governor Sanchez, who follows lock step in her reckless policy decisions,” said DPNM Chairwoman Debra Haaland. “Democrats passed bills that focus on job creation, improving education, creating opportunity for New Mexico businesses, and putting our state on better economic footing; these bills need attention before the deadline.”
The governor’s recent threats even have the ABQ Journal editorializing against her, asking “[p]lease, governor, show us the numbers” because “[s]he offered no data to support her dire predictions” that she says are forcing her to potentially shut down the government.
The legislature sent the governor a “menu of options” in the budget package that passed with bi-partisan support. But the administration is still taking a hard, ideological line, potentially threatening the state’s bond rating, which House Democrats point out would lead “to a waste of taxpayer dollars by increasing the cost of important infrastructure projects that lead to economic development and opportunity.”
Gov. Martinez is putting her “no taxes” ideology over the best interests of hardworking New Mexicans and their families. Her vetoes and threats are simply irresponsible. She’s being reckless, threatening the state’s bond rating even more, and standing in the way of economic growth.
And in addition to taking deliberate actions that hurt our economy – like refusing to sign a minimum wage increase supported by the business community or vetoing a bill to increase internet access in rural communities – the governor is putting the state’s education system in jeopardy.
In a recent editorial, Senator Mimi Stewart laid out how the governor’s rhetoric against the legislature is a diversion from the harmful policies her administration put forth early in the session.
Sen. Stewart pointed out that New Mexico’s schools have been underfunded by as much as $350 million since 2008 and that such funding has never been completely restored:
So what did the Legislature do to begin addressing this ongoing education funding deficit while also balancing the budget?
Two very different budget proposals were on the table at the close of the first week of the session.
Gov. Martinez wanted to cut $120 million in school funding. What’s more, her proposal would have put the squeeze on 80,000 public employees, including our teachers, dealing them a jaw-dropping 3.5 percent pay cut. If that weren’t bad enough for these working families, this cut would have ended up taking $100 million of spending out of our local economies, thus taking steam out of New Mexico’s already sluggish recovery.
For the Senate, these cuts were unacceptable.
On the second day of the session, the Senate put forward a balanced proposal to tackle the state’s immediate fiscal crisis – an approach that minimized the draconian school cuts Gov. Martinez had proposed.
Acting quickly and in a bipartisan fashion, the Senate worked to protect public schools across the state from $70 million in funding cuts. It rejected the governor’s $100 million state employee pay cut idea. Instead, we balanced the budget without taking money out of the pockets of our teachers, law enforcement officers and nurses.
It’s clear that history will not be on the governor’s side if she sticks to her tactics of baseless accusations and hardline Republican ideology.
Remember, she’s already fallen to her lowest level of public support in her administration’s history. And now she seems prepared to double-down on the same kinds of divisive politicking and posturing that brought us to this place to begin with.
Stay tuned to ProgressNow NM over the next few days to see if the governor follows through on her threats. If she does, we’ll need your help to defend the hardworking people of New Mexico against her harmful ideology.
In the meantime, take a few seconds to thank the New Mexico Legislators who passed a responsible budget, kept New Mexico out of debt, and protected critical public services.
Click on the images below to share them on Facebook so our legislators know we have their backs and appreciate all the work they did to protect and improve New Mexico.