Spaceport America, 10 years on

In case you missed it, you should check out Heath Haussamen’s five-part series on Spaceport America that ran on nmpolitics.net last week. It’s informative, especially the revelations about how much Spaceport America staff is keeping from the public in violation of state transparency laws.

Budget crisis threatens child welfare programs

A gaping revenue shortfall and lack of reserves have New Mexico’s legislators worried about short-circuiting the progress of  large investments made in early childhood and safety net programs in recent years. A steep decline in the price of oil has contracted an industry on which New Mexico relies heavily, leading to broad layoffs, sales of oilfield equipment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. That, in turn, has gutted the cash from tax revenues state leaders counted on to pay for state operations. State leaders emptied out the state’s reserve fund to balance last year’s budget. Now they must close this year’s shortfall — projected at $69 million — without a pot of money that has cushioned economic pain in previous economic downturns.

Top 10 largest and smallest capital outlay project appropriations 2010-2014

Top 10 individual New Mexico capital outlay project appropriations, 2010-2014:

$27.5 million for the Paseo Del Norte/Interstate 25 interchange (this is one of three appropriations for the interchange totaling more than $30 million)
$20.5 million for the renovation of Farris Engineering Building, University of New Mexico
$19.2 million for the renovation of Jett Hall, New Mexico State University
$19 million for demolition and renovation of Hardman and Jacobs Hall, New Mexico State University

New Mexico’s Capital Dilemma
Read the other articles in this series:

Explore our database of capital outlay projects
Analysis: Weaknesses mar NM’s capital outlay system
New Mexico’s Capital Dilemma methodology

$18 million for a geology facility, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
$17.3 million for Southwest Regional Spaceport (this is  a 2012 reauthorization of a 2007 project, with some of the money forwarded to a 2014 project)
$16 million for Clark Hall renovation, University of New Mexico
$15 million for Chemistry Department facility construction, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
$13.6 million for Human Services Department information technology
$12 million for Health Science Center health education building, University of New Mexico

Bottom 10 individual New Mexico capital outlay project project appropriations, 2010-2014

$500 for equipment at the Ena Mitchell Senior & Wellness Citizens Center in Lordsburg
$570 for meals equipment at the Vaughn Senior Center
$840 for equipment at the Mora Senior Center
$900 for meals equipment at the Melrose Senior Center
(tie) $1,000 each for equipment at the Hobbs Senior Center, the Grants Senior Center and the Mitten Rock Senior Center
$1,100 for meals equipment at the Eunice Senior Center
$1,140 for equipment at the Ramah and Thoreau senior centers in McKinley County
(tie) $1,300 for equipment at the Clayton Senior Center and Logan Senior Center

Editor’s note

While it might not seem like it from reading headlines day-in, day-out, the heart of journalism beats with hope. It is with that hope that NMID offers this series in a spirit of both humility and gratitude.

An update from the Roundhouse

KUNM’s afternoon host Chris Boros and NMID’s Gwyneth Doland took a few minutes Tuesday afternoon to handicap abortion, right-to-work legislation and transparency proposals as lawmakers enter the final days of the 2015 session. Listen to the interview.