is the number of dollar signs ($) in Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish’s economic proposals, which total 4,000 words.
is the number of dollar signs ($) in Republican candidate Susana Martinez’ economic proposals, which also total 4,000 words.
SFR asked Larry Waldman, senior research scientist with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico, to analyze the gubernatorial candidates’ economic proposals.
Waldman says he has no connection to either candidate. Not that they’d listen to him: He doesn’t think the state can do much in the short term.
“No politician is ever going to say, ‘Well, there’s nothing that can be done about it,’” Waldman says. Instead, they offer tweaks that may or may not add up to much.
Here’s Waldman’s take of Denish and Martinez’ key proposals.
• Tax cuts: “I don’t see how it can be very stimulating, frankly. It may be simply another way to try and win voters.”
• Ending the “pit rule,” a restriction on oil and gas drilling: “It’s liable to put a few bucks in the state coffers. [The rule] hasn’t even cost us hundreds of jobs. It’s not that big a deal.”
• Cut government spending: “It’s going to cost some government jobs”—which are unlikely to be replaced in the private sector—“but, right now, the budget’s a problem. Another way would be to reduce spending in certain areas, like highway spending.”
• Microloans for small business: “It’s a positive move but, once again, how big an impact is it going to have? You’ve got to find good places to put the money…It’s just so much talk.”
• Tax credits of $2,500 for new small-business hires: “It’s a marginal incentive, frankly. It could make a difference in some cases.”
• State contract preference for local businesses: “That’s a good move. It won’t be that effective.”
• Buying local produce for schools and prisons: “That’s a great idea...and it can have an impact.”
“These are all small programs. None is going to be anywhere close to a savior for this economy. But incremental programs can have effects,” Waldman says. “Most of them are sound. The only one I question is the tax cut.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is, faced with the greatest economic crisis in generations, all New Mexico’s gubernatorial candidates have to offer is standard party boilerplate.