Every children’s story has a victim, a villain, and a hero. And so it is with the State of New Mexico and funding for early childhood education, public schools, and universities. The victims are the children of the state who are crying out for someone to hear them and to provide a future through education and opportunities. But who are the villains? And where are the heroes? Where are those who will put aside their own personal interests and profits? Who will step up to be a hero for the children of the state?
Our state sits on a permanent fund of over $18 billion dollars while we continue to spiral down in an economic recession of our own making. It is hard for people to believe we are in an economic crisis when we have $18 billion invested in Wall Street yet refuse to sufficiently fund our schools or investment in our people. An economic downturn, like occurred in 2008, can wipe out billions of dollars invested in Wall Street, but investments we make in education and people can never be lost.
Improving New Mexico’s economy is more about psychology than money. An economy rises and falls on hope and fear. When people are hopeful and make investments in people and the future, the money moves and the economy improves. When people are fearful, the human reaction is to retreat and hoard that money. The fear causes economic stagnation. New Mexico needs to invest in the hope to get our economy moving and to provide for our children and their future.
The Legislature is in a position to invest in New Mexico’s future and to provide hope, or it can remain fearful and hoard the resources of the State. We can use the permanent fund to invest in our future. We can rescind the Richardson era tax cuts, we gave to the top 1%, to fund early childhood education and the public schools. We can invest in our universities and community colleges to provide a better future for our state. We can move from fear to hope, opportunity, and success.
Every compelling story has a victim, a villain, and a hero. Who is going to be the heroes for New Mexico?