In the interest of New Mexico’s future, we cannot miss the opportunity to properly and strategically spend the federal funding that has been awarded to each state to provide economic relief from the pandemic. As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, father and businessman, I believe it is imperative that we use and invest these federal stimulus dollars strategically to ensure generational change and encourage new growth in the economy and improve the quality of life for all Mexicans. We cannot use tough times and boiling economies as excuses. We have the opportunity to make drastic, positive generational changes. Missing this opportunity would be to the detriment of all New Mexicans and future generations.
Because of the pandemic, all states are receiving one-time federal grants to revitalize, modernize, and diversify their economies. With the diverse geographic landscape and rich natural resources of New Mexico, we have the ability to support, improve and sustain the existing industry while diversifying our sources of income, improving and maintaining our quality of life through improved education, roads and health systems , attract and train a skilled workforce.
To achieve these goals, I suggest that at least $ 400 million be allocated to attract and support multiple sustainable business ventures. Oil and gas have long been the backbone of our country’s economy, and we know industry will continue to play an important role. However, we cannot continue to rely on an industry to continuously run our budget, fund our schools, pay our teachers, repair our roads, help with health care, and much more.
New Mexico’s vast natural resources make us a prime state to encourage industry to implement innovative technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, solar and wind power, geothermal and burgeoning hydrogen technologies to further expand our economic base and ours To protect the environment. We need to foster a mindset of developing our natural resources rather than simply exporting them to other countries for manufacture, driving our own economic diversification and growth in jobs and taxes.
The federal stimulus dollars, when properly spent, will help us break the uncertainty of the boom and bust fiscal cycle we have been through for so long due to our reliance on oil and gas. While oil and gas are a staple of the budget, they cannot and should not be our only support to ensure quality education for our students and attractive pay for teachers. New Mexico is failing our students with botched leadership and foresight. We have three cabinet secretaries from the Ministry of Public Education since 2019. This fluctuation is unacceptable. New Mexico needs to do better for our children, and we need to expect more from our students and teachers. To ensure that we prepare our children as best we can for professional success, we need to keep building and diversifying our economy.
Our Native American communities also need to participate in the US economic dollar. For too many generations there has been a lack of basic needs such as fresh water and electricity. We need to invest in infrastructure that allows a child to read at night and an elderly person to turn on a tap for clean drinking water.
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New Mexico has long been a leader in breakthrough scientific innovation in many areas. From our national laboratories to aerospace, our economic and educational systems deserve that state leaders focus on attracting New Mexico industries that will continue to change and improve the world for generations to come, as well as building New Mexico’s economies and industries Help to help stabilize and increase our budget.
Water will always be one of our most valuable resources in a dry state. The only way to attract more businesses to New Mexico and protect our water supplies is to modernize our long-missing and ailing infrastructure systems, including dams and bridges. We also need to find ways to better promote the use of treated water in order to make the most of our limited and precious water.
The pandemic has created hardships that seem almost incomprehensible. The federal stimulus dollars, when properly invested, will ensure that the economic consequences of these hardships are overcome, and one day will be eliminated. New Mexico can and will be better, but only if this historic financial opportunity is not squandered.