For weeks The Candle has interviewed various individuals who have advocated for a state budget and a plan that can get New Mexico growing again, while protecting vulnerable populations.
The Candle is almost finished collating the many ideas and observations from those interviews, as well as others floated in the media, into a working document to be made available to the public and to legislators as an alternative to the status quo budgets expected from legislators in the next few days.
On Friday (February 17th), The Candle will post on this website an accessible pdf of the executive summary of a “better budget” alternative – it reflects the ideas of many folks and organizations, and quite honestly The Candle claims no authorship of the ideas contained therein.
Most of the ideas presented have been floating in discussion for months – some for years; and they come from people of New Mexico who are concerned about the future of the state.
The pdf to be released tomorrow is an effort to corral the ideas into one document; and it’s supported with related revenue enhancement proposals to adequately fund a “better budget,” one which is long overdue for the people of New Mexico, and one that offers hope.
New Mexico deserves a bigger pie, instead of forcing vulnerable constituencies to steal from another’s slice of hope.
This effort is meant to demonstrate that if legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, have the courage to act, they can create a state budget that, among other things:
1) Fully funds Medicaid.
2) Fully funds education: early childhood, elementary and secondary, and higher education.
3) Funds the Developmental Disability Waiver (DD Waiver) program and eliminates the nearly ten year waiting list.
4) Gives state employees and teachers a modest pay raise.
5) Fixes New Mexico roads, bridges; and funds water projects.
6) Funds Medicaid home visit program for families.
7) Fully funds the state environmental departments to protect against pollution.
8) Funds a serious economic development plan for New Mexico.
9) Fully funds regulatory agencies so that good, clean renewable energy can replace dirty energy.
10) Funds Native American, Hispanic, and other Minority, and Women Rights programs and efforts to defend New Mexico’s Immigrant Residents.
11) Fills the states reserve accounts.
(Look to The Candle’s Home page on Friday, February 17, 2017, to download your own copy of the Executive Summary of an alternative state budget proposal – a ‘better budget.” Late Monday afternoon an additional pdf of the “better budget” produced in a format similar to House, Senate and Executive versions will be available.)