This week the Republican National Convention brings Republicans from around the country to Cleveland, including New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez.
Governor Martinez who is considered one of the Republican Party’s rising stars has voiced her support of Trump’s VP pick, Mike Pence, and has supported Pence in her role as Chair of the National Governors Association. But like many Republicans she has avoided questions on a Trump endorsement. If we care about the future of our country, we should be concerned that the Republican Party courts Governor Martinez, Mike Pence and, worst of all, Donald Trump.
Though Governor Martinez has tried to distance herself from Trump, she has pushed laws with the same fear driven sentiment that has been the cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. But what is more concerning is that her economic policies failed. New Mexico is a prime example of what happens under Republican leadership, and we cannot let that happen to our country.
Thirty percent of New Mexico’s children are living in poverty and New Mexico is ranked 50th in education according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Data Book. When Martinez came to office, the KIDS COUNT Data Book ranked New Mexico 43 overall in child well-being. During the last five years of her tenure, New Mexico ranked 49th, 50th, 49th, 49th and 49th respectively.
One of the reasons New Mexico’s children are falling behind the rest of the country is because of the governor’s economic policies, which are very similar to the policies Trump’s running mate pushed in his state of Indiana. Republicans like Governor Martinez want us to believe that corporate-first policies and tax cuts for millionaires will improve our economy, but they don’t. According to the bipartisan Congressional Joint Economic Committee, New Mexico had the fourth highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.2 percent, compared to a national rate of 4.7 percent.
Governor Martinez said she was going to grow New Mexico’s private sector. Since 2010, private sector jobs grew by 13.6 percent in the United States. In New Mexico, private sector employment increased by a paltry 5.9 percent over the same time period. And now, our private sector is actually losing jobs. In May of this year, private sector employment fell by 2.1 percent when the rest of the nation saw an increase of 5 percent.
Pro-business national media outlets are now reporting New Mexico’s economic crisis. CNBC dropped New Mexico from 24 to 39, in their ranking of best states to do business. The drop was larger than any other state. The survey ranked New Mexico 46 in access to capital, 43 in business friendliness, 42 in workforce and 38 in the overall economy. New Mexico is losing jobs and, CNBC said, “Workers have been fleeing the state in droves.”
The lack of job growth also affects the gross domestic product in New Mexico. U.S. GDP grew by 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. Here in New Mexico, it fell by 1.9 percent, and now New Mexico is on its way to a recession. With one more quarter of negative growth in GDP, my state will be in a recession. Do we want this for the country?
The dismal economic situation affects New Mexico’s budget. The most recent Legislative Finance Committee report forecasts a 9.7% percent drop in revenue. The shortfall has wiped out reserves causing New Mexico to fall into structural deficit. If revenue does not recover, New Mexico will be in an actual deficit.
Martinez’s Republican policies also hit the average earnings of everyday New Mexicans. Adjusted for inflation, the states average earnings have fallen by 2 percent in the past year. This means hard-working New Mexicans have less money in their pockets to pay for food, rent, and childcare.
Governor Martinez’s Republican economic agenda has clearly failed my state. And the rest of the country now thinks New Mexico is closed for business. Failed policies that give corporations the upper hand are what we’ll see coming from Trump and his running mate Mike Pence―that’s not what we want for our country.