New Mexico is once again on the bottom of the list—or the top, depending on your perspective. Forbes recently announced the “death spiral” states. New Mexico was the worst “with 1.53 takers for every maker” (Forbes defines “takers” and “makers” this way: “A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector”). It seems New Mexico can’t get a break from Washington. Instead of unleashing the state’s biggest single private-sector employer, the essential job-creating giant is impeded at every opportunity.
And we wonder why the economy is teetering.
In New Mexico nearly 50% of the state revenue comes from oil-and-gas activity. More than 11,000 people are directly employed in the industry. Schools, hospitals, and other government functions are funded as a result of oil-and-gas receipts that go into the Severance Tax and Land Grant Permanent Funds. The state has other resources such as copper, rare earth elements, and uranium. Their extraction often faces such stiff opposition that companies interested in investing in New Mexico give up, or run out of money fighting for the right to access the resource, before they ever get past the exploration phase.
There are myriad ways obstructionists slow or stop energy projects.