Tuesday, 10 May 2016 02:40

Is Government Waste Okay With Voters?

Capital Projects, General Obligation Bonds and Property Taxes: Frequently on ballots are ‘Bond Questions’ that relate to capital projects (construction of buildings, roads, … etc.) funded through property taxes. You may recall NMBC has encouraged voters to consider the use of those tax dollars, not just the emotional appeal such as ‘it’s for the kids'.

In 2014 NMBC said this when the City of Albuquerque asked voters to approve money for ‘library acquisition’: “Voters should consider the tremendous decrease in library use due to the increased use of computers and the World Wide Web. We believe there will always be a need for libraries, but they are currently overbuilt in larger metro areas and it is time to consolidate some of these facilities. This would cut down on ongoing funding costs and allow better investment into a smaller number of facilities.” As expected, voters overwhelming approved the library bond.

Now the media is reporting that a new $8.4 million library was built within two miles of an existing library in Albuquerque. Based on the voters’ bond approval in 2014, the city built the Patrick J. Baca Library in 2015 and now plans to close one or more existing libraries – due to lack of use. Hmm, it sure sounds like what the NMBC said two years ago…

What will happen to the library buildings that are being closed? That remains to be seen, but often times we’ve seen these buildings converted to some other type of government use, which takes more tax dollars for remodeling/refurbishing. Of course if the buildings are repurposed, they will need to be furnished and staffed too, all of which will increase costs to taxpayers.

If ‘voter approved’ waste and expansion of government continues, New Mexicans can expect government at all levels to continue to face revenue shortfalls. This takes us to the ever growing discussion of raising taxes or cutting programs. With New Mexico facing a business and population exodus, we have less people to tap for higher taxes so the dilemma continues.

If voters don’t start making better choices at the polls, we can expect higher levels of poverty, a weak economy and high rates of joblessness to continue. You cannot address all of the states’ burdens on the backs of those taxpaying individuals and businesses that are a growing minority in this state.

Choices have to be made about how we move forward and elections matter in a bigger way than most realize. Those you elect on June 7th and November 8th will be deciding how we move forward or if we continue down the road to being a third world state with little hope of prosperity. We also need to see better choices when it comes to capital outlay. We simply cannot afford the dismally poor performance that is encouraged with approval of every bond question that comes along. It is possible to say ‘no’ to capital projects that are unnecessary and that perpetuate the cycle of government largess, waste and expansion.

Mandated Paid Time Off to Care for a Loved One: It looks like voters are also going to have the opportunity to weigh in on accepting or rejecting more government mandates on how businesses are operated. Likely to be replicated in other cities around the state, supporters of what they call a ‘Healthy Workforce Act’ in Albuquerque will be gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to be addressed in November. The ordinance being sought would mandate paid days off for employees who are sick or caring for a loved one. The mandate would apply to all businesses, even the smallest ‘mom and pop’ businesses that have only one employee.

Given the extreme difficulty businesses already have keeping the doors open – largely because of overly burdensome government regulations, fees, and taxes, NMBC encourages voters to soundly reject this initiative. New Mexicans need jobs and continuing to drive businesses out of the state or out of business with ever increased anti-business government mandates does not help anyone.

Job Interviews BASH (Business and Social Hour) on June 30: Save the date of June 30 and plan now to attend the popular NMBC Candidate Job Interviews, 4:30 – 6:30 at the Albuquerque Country Club.

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