The Albuquerque Journal has published candidate responses to its 14-question survey from the Republicans running to be the next governor of New Mexico. This is the second article in a series analyzing their responses through a Conservative lens.
QUESTION: New Mexico is highly reliant on the oil and natural gas industries to generate revenue to fund state programs, as evidenced by recent oil boom and bust cycles. What steps should the Legislature take to diversify the state’s economy and revenue base?
- Mark Ronchetti: “The real problem is our state is far too dependent on government spending. We now have the highest unemployment rate in America and 40% of our small businesses closed for good. We must diversify the economy by growing the private sector through cutting taxes to make our state more competitive.”
- Rebecca Dow: “New Mexico has abundant natural resources that could fund our state for decades. We need to embrace our extractive industries by cutting back regulations that reduce extraction. To diversity, we must have comprehensive tax reform, tort reform, and implement a regulatory environment similar to our neighboring states (Texas and Arizona).”
- Greg Zanetti: “I believe New Mexico should be the Water, Energy, and Technology State. We have abundant ‘low-tech’ natural resources and brilliant ‘high-tech’ minds. When low-tech and high-tech are combined, economies flourish. For example, New Mexico should pursue water desalination facilities powered by small-modular nuclear reactors to provide both high and low-tech jobs.”
- Jay Block: “To diversify business in our state, it’s simple, we make it easier to do business here. Start by lifting unnecessary and overburdensome economic regulations, and lowering taxes on businesses. Specifically, we should eliminate the gross receipts tax, which is an inefficient and economically destructive tax.”
The answers to this question are a perfect example of how the GOP candidates, while dissimilar in their campaign styles, are consistent about identifying the problems that are holding New Mexico back.
Ronchetti, Dow, and Block all spoke to the big picture problems of taxes and regulations that hurt all business in the state, not just the oil and gas industry. Zanetti’s response is clever, and while more focused on desalination, the combination of natural resources and the brainpower of our two national laboratories should make New Mexico a leader in energy production.