The Liberal Blue View From the Left
Author: Alan WebberDemocratic primary candidate for Governor
The Conservative Red View From the Right
Author: Paul GessingPresident, Rio Grande Foundation
The good news is that in 2015 the Republican House passed more than a dozen good bills – many passed with bi-partisan support that would free up New Mexicans’ entrepreneurial spirits and make our state more attractive for business. The bad news is that the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to even vote on them.
We have a path forward for reform in 2016. We need the Senate to at least vote on these important reforms.
What do entrepreneurs want? Talent. A well-trained, well-educated workforce. Ideas. A well-funded, supportive system of higher education. Technology. High-speed internet connectivity in every part of the state. Access. Frequent, dependable airplane service. Money. Access to investment capital.
It boils down to people, ideas, money.
We need to invest in people, champion ideas and use our public money to leverage private money. Interestingly, virtually none of this involves the legislature. It requires bold, creative leadership from the Governor and her team. With real leadership, the components begin to line up. Without leadership, nothing keeps happening.
We also spend plenty on higher-education. According to the National Education Association, NM spends more per-capital on higher ed than all but six states.
The rest of these items, high-speed internet, flights, and capital show up when investors can make money. Until we have a more dynamic private sector, these will lag and there’s really nothing Santa Fe can do about it.
Which brings me back to my original points about the New Mexico Senate blocking needed reforms.
If we really want more private sector jobs, we need a total re-write of New Mexico’s tax code. The GRT is a backward looking tax approach, a reflection of our historic dependence on federal jobs. Over the years, it’s been carved away by special interest tax breaks. As a consequence, entrepreneurs and small and medium sized companies are punished instead of being rewarded.
To get more private sector jobs, we need a state tax code that looks to the future instead of the past.
That takes leadership from the Governor. New Mexico is overdue for a total tax overhaul that will reward companies that are here for their growth and stimulate new companies to start up. That’s real reform the Governor could propose.
The gross receipts tax is anti-entrepreneur in some very pernicious ways that harm this state economically.
And, while we’re at it, I’ll throw out a framework. Reform should not be a government cash-grab. It should be close to revenue-neutral. It should also be pro-growth with taxes levied on consumption, not work and investing.
I do think there is “lower-hanging-fruit” in the form of “right to work,” economic deregulation, and school choice, but I am impressed. And while we’re in agreement, it is time to follow Colorado’s lead in legalizing pot.
Courtesy ABQ Free Press