As state budget cuts loom, we must review what we value | Albuquerque Journal

First, a comment. This op-ed focuses on my brother’s adopted home state of New Mexico, but it could just as easily be about Michigan. Priorities are priorities and values are values. It is true as the writer notes, as citizens we must be certain our elected officials understand what we value and prioritize tax revenues and craft budgets accordingly.-JLS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Absent a massive and highly unlikely increase in the global price of oil and natural gas, New Mexico state government must come up with $700 million or more in spending cuts very soon.

Budgeted spending in fiscal year 2017, which began July 1, is expected to exceed revenue by $458 million. The state had to empty its reserve fund to pay its 2016 bills, money the government wants to replace so it can cover future deficits, including a projected $211 million deficit in the 2018 fiscal year. A special legislative session is expected to convene soon to balance the current budget and replenish the reserve fund.

Since Gov. Susana Martinez is adamantly opposed to tax increases and new taxes and since our constitution forbids the state from running a budget deficit, legislators will have to cut spending in this fiscal year.

At times like these, I’m reminded of the Gospel of Matthew, where it is written, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” A government budget is an expression of the values elected officials believe the citizenry shares. In a perfect world, there would be the time, energy and political maturity to review what our state values and then carefully cut those things that we the people do not value.

…Read the full essay at this link. Please. Then share, discuss and learn.

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