For the future of New Mexico, we cannot miss the opportunity to properly and strategically spend the federal stimulus money that has been allocated to each state for economic relief due to the pandemic. As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, father and businessman, I believe it is imperative that we strategically use and invest these federal stimulus dollars in ways that ensure generational change, foster new growth. in the economy and improve the quality of life for all. Mexicans. We cannot use hard times and skyrocketing economies as an excuse. We have the opportunity to make drastic, positive generational changes. To miss this opportunity would be to the detriment of all New Mexicans and future generations.
Due to the pandemic, all states are receiving one-time-in-a-lifetime rewards of federal stimulus funds to invigorate, modernize and diversify their economies. With the varied geographic landscape and the rich natural resources of New Mexico, we have the opportunity to support, enhance and retain the existing industry while diversifying our sources of income, improving our quality of life through the ” improving education, roads and health care systems, and retaining, attracting and training a quality workforce.
To achieve these goals, I suggest that a minimum of $ 400 million be set aside to attract and support multiple sustainable business ventures. Oil and gas have long been the backbone of our state’s economy, and we know the industry will continue to play a vital role in the future. However, we cannot continue to rely on one industry to permanently maintain our budget, fund our schools, pay our teachers, fix our roads, help with health care and more.
New Mexico’s vast natural resources make us a privileged state to encourage industry to implement innovative technologies, such as carbon utilization and sequestration, solar and wind power, geothermal energy, and technologies. booming hydrogen to strengthen our economic base and take care of our environment. We need to foster a mentality of further developing our natural resources beyond simply exporting them to other states for manufacturing, stimulating our own economic diversification, and growth in jobs and the tax base.
Federal stimulus dollars, if spent appropriately, will help us break through the uncertainty of the boom and bust budget cycle that we have so long straddled due to our dependence on oil and gas. Although they constitute a budgetary base, oil and gas cannot and should not be our only support to ensure a quality education for our students and an attractive remuneration for the teachers. New Mexico is failing our students with shoddy leadership and a lack of forethought. We have three cabinet secretaries from the Department of Public Education since 2019. This turnover is unacceptable. New Mexico must do better for our children, and we must expect more for our students and teachers. To ensure that we are best prepared for our children to succeed in the workforce, we must continue to build and diversify our economy.
Our Native American communities must also share in the benefits of federal stimulus dollars. For too many generations, basic necessities such as fresh water and electricity have been lacking. We need to invest in infrastructure that allows a child to read at night and an elder to turn on a tap to clean drinking water.
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In many areas, New Mexico has long been at the forefront of groundbreaking scientific innovation. From our national labs to space travel, our economy and education systems deserve state leaders to focus on attracting industries to New Mexico that will continue to change and improve the world for generations to come. come, as well as help build New Mexico’s economy and aid. to stabilize and increase our budget.
Living in an arid state, water will always be one of our most precious resources. The only way to attract more business to New Mexico and protect our water supply is to modernize our failing and long-suffering infrastructure systems, including dams and bridges. We also need to find ways to better incentivize the use of reclaimed water in order to make the best use of our limited and precious amounts of water.
The pandemic has created difficulties that seem almost unfathomable. Federal stimulus dollars, if invested appropriately, will ensure that the economic fallout from these difficulties is overcome and even eliminated one day. New Mexico can and will be better, but only if this historic financial opportunity is not wasted.