Serving the High Plains

Articles written by Paul Gessing

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  • NM oil, gas boom will continue

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Apr 3, 2024

    Recently, Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, after pushing the Legislature for a 25% tax hike on New Mexico oil and gas producers, made the decision to pull those “highly valuable” tracts of land and not lease them. That decision has raised concerns that her actions may violate her fiduciary responsibility to maximize revenues from the lands under her control. Garcia Richard told the Albuquerque Journal, “It’s worth it to temporarily forgo the dollars (from leasing immediately) to make billions more in the future by leasing out the...

  • Legislature says 'no' to prosperity

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Feb 21, 2024

    As Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, told the floor as debate over this year’s budget wrapped up: “You’re not a poor state. Quit telling other people you’re a poor state.” He’s right. New Mexico is not poor. But what about the people of New Mexico? Among the citizens poverty remains high. According to World Population Review, New Mexico has the third-highest poverty rate in the US. Crime remains troubling and the education system is in dire straits. The state of New Mexico -- meaning the government itself -- has had massive surpluses in recent ye...

  • UBI won't actually help the poor

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Sep 27, 2023

    The idea of a “universal basic income” has been around a long time. Most supporters are broadly on the left of the political spectrum, but many conservative thought leaders, including Charles Murray as well as Reagan officials like James Baker and George Schultz, have also been willing to consider the idea. The idea behind UBI is simple: replace welfare payments to the poor with cash payments to empower the poor to manage their government benefits. Welfare programs have a bunch of hoops and phase-outs that can often disincentivize going fro...

  • Time for all-above approach to education

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Aug 30, 2023

    New Mexico should be in crisis mode. Our K-12 education system is certainly facing a crisis. Problems abound: recent reports highlight serious school attendance issues, the NAEP (known as the “Nation’s Report Card”) test places New Mexico 52nd across ALL age groups and subjects studied, the Kids Count report shows New Mexico kids are losing ground, and no one seems to have a solution. Education spending has increased markedly in recent years with nothing to show for it. With New Mexico already suffering from poor educational outcomes the COVID...

  • State needs different economic direction

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Jul 5, 2023

    Once again New Mexico is at the bottom of a list. “Kids Count 2023” is compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation with distribution and media handled by New Mexico Voices for Children. While it is not the report Rio Grande Foundation would compile, the 16 variables considered in do highlight issues regarding the well-being of New Mexico children. Sadly, like so many similar reports, the results are not good for our state. What is unique is the positive spin being applied by Voices for Children. As Voices for Children’s Amber Wallin recen...

  • 529 plan expansion good news for NM

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|May 24, 2023

    The 2023 New Mexico legislative session was generally disappointing for New Mexicans who wish to see much-needed K-12 education reform. However, it was not a total loss. In fact, one bill did pass that could help thousands of New Mexico families pay for educational options that work best for them. Without a single “no” vote during the 2023 session, HB 342 will soon be the “law of the land.” The bipartisan bill was sponsored in the House by Republican Minority Leader Ryan Lane and by Democrat Majority Leader Peter Wirth in the Senate. It was sig...

  • Online program not welfare; it's empowering

    Paul Gessing, Syndicated content|Apr 26, 2023

    The state of New Mexico is unique in both its demographics and geographical features. Our vast land area, diverse topography, and sparse population have proven to be a significant barrier when it comes to broadband deployment and internet connectivity. This affects New Mexicans from the eastern prairie to the Rio Grande Valley. This challenge is particularly evident across low-income communities and on tribal lands. Billions of federal and state tax dollars have been spent on broadband in recent years, but the problems persist because too...

  • Interest rate cap study warning to NM

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Mar 15, 2023

    Elected officials who use the power of government to “help” people often fail to account for the possible unintended consequences of their actions. Even the noblest of intentions can unintentionally hurt those it’s meant to aid. Such is the case with New Mexico’s new law imposing a price control on the interest rate that lenders are allowed to charge on a short-term loan. Proponents claim it will make a “real difference” for people, but the only difference it’ll make is in the ability for people to access credit. On Jan. 1, H.B. 132 “Interest...

  • Anti-donation clause important protection

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|Oct 26, 2022

    There are numerous important issues on New Mexicans’ ballots as early voting has begun. Amendment 2 has not received the same attention as Amendment 1, which relates to pre-K and early childhood spending, but voters will be asked to vote on this important issue also. Amendment 2 would, if adopted, further weaken New Mexico’s “anti-donation clause” by allowing the Legislature to “appropriate state funds for infrastructure that provides services primarily for residential use — such as internet, electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater....

  • Census report should be wakeup call

    Paul Gessing, Guest columnist|May 12, 2021

    The US Census Bureau recently released what can only be described as some disturbing data regarding the future of New Mexico. Notably, while the state’s population grew by just 2.8 percent over the past decade, each of our neighbors saw double-digit population growth with the exception of Oklahoma, which still bested New Mexico with 5.5 percent growth. That should be a wake-up call for New Mexico’s Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham. A report put out by New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee fleshes out some of New Mexico’s impendi...

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