With just a few hours remaining (as this email is sent) we already know that from the perspective of individual liberty and personal freedom the 2019 New Mexico legislative session was the worst within memory.
With the ‘progressives’ takeover of New Mexico government in November, we knew that the session would involve a lot more spending and numerous attacks on personal freedom and your pocketbooks. Those fears have largely borne themselves out as anyone can see from a cursory look at the Foundation’s ‘Freedom Index’ in which the organization rated (from -8 to +8) any bill that impacted personal freedom.
While about 1,500 bills were introduced this session, here are some that passed that will have the greatest negative impact on New Mexico’s economy:
• SB 489, the so-called “Energy Transition Act” is a classic case of “logrolling”: placing numerous items in a bill to build support for the legislation. More importantly, the law’s provision that mandates 50% renewable electricity by 2030 will have dire impacts on New Mexico electricity prices. Those impacts will not be fully-recognized right away, but the shuttering of San Juan Generating Station in the Four Corners will.
• HB 85 bans “right to work” laws as passed by the 10 New Mexico counties that have adopted them (and potentially more who would have). It is a fine idea to make labor policy at the State level, but with cities and counties adopting minimum wages and even considering sick leave mandates, there is little intellectual consistency.
• SB 2 in its original form would have led to unlimited film subsidies in New Mexico. The State currently caps annual subsidies at $50 million. That number rises to $110 million under SB 2 and the Legislature is spending $225 million to pay off a portion of the subsidy backlog.
• SB 437 raises New Mexico’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $12.00 an hour. While the bill does preserve some carve-outs for tipped restaurant staff, the bill will have a tremendous negative impact on New Mexico’s struggling rural communities.
• The budget passed this session provides for an 11% increase year-over-year. It is simply unsustainable and New Mexico is already a big-spending state. The issue is a lack of prioritization in the Legislature, not a lack of money.
Other bad legislation passed such as the bill to abandon the Electoral College, implement same-day voter registration, etc. (and some of it failed), but this session will have long-term negative effects on New Mexico’s economy.