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According to the latest numbers, New Mexico faces a $454 million budget shortfall. For just the third time in 20 years, revenue is expected to decline during the current budget year.
Certainly, the ongoing financial crisis and subsequent rapid drop in oil and gas prices are at the heart of the issue, but the good times were destined to come to an end for New Mexico which had been living beyond its means for several years.
Under Gov. Richardson alone, who took over as governor in 2003, general fund spending has jumped from $3.9 billion to $6 billion where it stands today. That is an astounding increase of more than 50 percent in six short years.
Given such rapid growth, New Mexico should be able to rely on spending cuts rather than tax increases to fill the current spending gap.
The thesis that spending must be the focus of efforts to close the budget deficit is central to our recently-released “2008 Piglet Book” which outlines wasteful and unnecessary spending here in the Land of Enchantment.
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