New Mexico Democrats Celebrate Temporary Windfall as NM Unemployment Ranks 6th Worst in the Nation
Santa Fe – Governor Lujan Grisham’s finance officials today shared their budget outlook with state legislators. The latest budget revenues are higher than expected, leading officials to prematurely celebrate a better than expected budget outlook as the state heads into the final weeks of the election. The budget revenues reveal that New Mexico gross receipts tax revenue has not decreased much, in part due to federal unemployment keeping many New Mexico families afloat as the forced economic shutdown continues into its eight month.
“Make no mistake, the state budget is being temporarily stabilized by federal dollars that are supporting unemployed New Mexicans as we enter the eighth month of the forced economic shutdown,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia). “The house of cards that the current administration has built on the backs of hardworking New Mexicans will be tough to support as we move forward, especially given that the Governor increased government spending by 20% over her first two years in office. The temporary, federally funded, backstop is not enough. We cannot count on Congress to deliver another surplus and we cannot count on current leadership to responsibly spend New Mexico wage earners tax dollars.”
Unemployment in New Mexico has markedly increased from a record low of 4.8% just a year ago. The state enters October 2020 with an 11.8% rate of unemployment, along with a strained and depleted unemployment fund. Additionally, New Mexico now ranks 6th worst unemployment rate in the nation.
“There is nothing to celebrate about these budget predictions while New Mexico is in the midst of the Lujan Grisham shutdown recession. New Mexicans across the state are unemployed, many permanently, and the fact that this administration is seemingly taking a victory lap shows how out of touch Santa Fe politics is with everyday citizens,” said House Republican Whip Rod Montoya (Farmington). “It is interesting that the Governor is proudly touting that her government has cash in the bank, when many New Mexicans are struggling and stressing about finding employment and wondering when our unemployment fund will be tapped out.”