ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s reliance on government jobs, its history of corruption and a “poorly compensated” citizen Legislature create a “perfect storm” that is a major reason for the state’s languishing economy, according to a report released Thursday by the non-partisan Committee for Economic Development and the University of New Mexico.
“New Mexico’s economy is stagnant, largely because of the state’s reputation for corruption and crony capitalism and an environment that fosters pay to play behavior,” said the report.
The Committee for Economic Development describes itself as a Washington, D.C., based non-profit, business-led public policy organization.
The study recommends business leaders push for greater campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure, an independent ethics commission and a “rigorous” review of tax subsidies to determine whether the incentives are worth the money spent.
The authors describe crony capitalism in New Mexico as “regulatory favoritism, pay-to-play political coercion and interest group politics, in which companies gain more from political activity than their own economic activity.”
It looked at the state’s tax subsidies for certain corporations, noting that private companies can apply for 34 different tax credits in seven industries. Between 2011 and 2013, the state issued 860 subsidies at a cost of more than $262 million, the report said.
What it comes down to, the report says, is that in New Mexico it takes about $31,000 in tax subsidies to attract a job with an average salary of $43,000.
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